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West Ham boss to use Man Utd knockout to take players on a winter break

Sam Allardyce, West Ham United manager. Photo: Steve Drew/EMPICS Sport Sam Allardyce, West Ham United manager. Photo: Steve Drew/EMPICS Sport

Saturday, January 19, 2013
7:30 AM

Sam Allardyce is planning to take his West Ham players abroad for a winter break in preparation for the hectic run-in to the Premier League season.

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The Hammers boss yesterday reopened the debate over a mid-season break in English football, saying: “You wouldn’t flog a racehorse like they flog our players.”

Having been knocked out of the FA Cup by Manchester United on Wednesday, West Ham have no scheduled fixture next weekend as other clubs play their fourth round ties.

And Allardyce, who treated his players to a short training camp to Dubai last February, says a free weekend could give them the chance to get away again.

“Last year we managed to put it in there and it worked well because I think we went on to only lose one game that season,” said Allardyce, whose side won promotion from the Championship after last year’s break.

“I think we’ll have a better window now because our exit from the FA Cup.

“We might have a better window where we can take a few days and then we wouldn’t have a game the weekend we come back.

“Then we would build up the following weekend to start the big push to the end of the season.”

Asked why he values such a break, Allardyce added: “It’s about doing a little bit of training in a warm climate.

“But it’s about enjoying each others’ company and relaxing and switching off mentally and physically.

“I talk about the mental side of it more and more and more. It’s more about resting yourself mentally as well as physically.

“It’s a fantastic time to just recuperate,” he continued.

“The body’s healing process speeds up quickly in a warm climate, without any need to think about the next game that’s coming up.”

Quizzed on whether he worries about what his players might get up to when given the freedom of a winter holiday, Allardyce harked back to his playing days and said with a smile: “They were my days, that doesn’t happen now.”

He added: “It can get a little bit jovial on occasions but generally that would be born from too much alcohol.

“Obviously from my point of view it’s not an alcohol-fuelled trip, it’s a relaxation trip and a recuperation trip.

“It’s not a chance to have a binge like we used to when we played.”

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