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Dyche predicts Premier League will ditch ‘unfair’ winter break

Sean Dyche speaks to the media at Finch Farm
Sean Dyche says 'everyone is trying to win a trophy but the demand is still being in the Premier League' - Tony McArdle/Getty Images

Sean Dyche, the Everton manager, believes the Premier League will ditch the winter break because festive fixture congestion has created an “uneven playing field”.

Dyche says it makes more sense to spread out games rather than bunch so many together as has been the case over the last fortnight.

Having played five fixtures in 14 days between Dec 16-30, Everton are scheduled to play twice before Jan 30, presuming there is no replay required after Thursday’s FA Cup third-round tie at Crystal Palace.

“I’ll be surprised if that break doesn’t disappear, just from the scheduling,” said Dyche. “We will see.

“I would take that break away. I didn’t know they’d put it in and add more games in. The whole point was to try to give the players a break. I would definitely take a couple of games out of December and put them in there that [free] week.

“I don’t see the point of it when you’ve just had as many games in December. It’s not that beneficial. It would be better to lose one or two of these games [in Dec] and put them in there to spread it out. I think that’s a better scenario.”

As well as protecting players, Dyche thinks rethinking the calendar will stop the top sides with more strength in depth from gaining an unfair advantage from a rotation policy which keeps the starting XI fresh.

“It’s a more level playing field then,” he said. “With more games, the big clubs with big squads are bound to gain because of their big squads. But when you haven’t got a big squad like us and you get injuries, you’re bound to be stretched. If you put a couple of games in that break then it is more level across the season.”

Dyche is likely to pick a strong starting XI at Selhurst Park – mirroring the cup policy which took Everton to the Carabao Cup quarter-finals – but he says the greater importance of retaining Premier League status can not be disregarded.

“The appetite and hunger [to win] should be part of everything we do,” said Dyche.

“We want that winning mentality and we take on everything that comes our way. The idea of fans saying ‘ah yeah we haven’t won a cup in years, why aren’t we winning cups?’ – if it was that easy, then everyone would do it. Everyone is trying to win a cup, everyone is trying to win a trophy but the demand is still being in the Premier League.

“There are some Wigan fans who are more pleased they won the FA Cup [than stayed up] but I always find that one a bit of a head scratcher and I love to win a trophy, trust me. I’m not sure about that in the longer-term view.”

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