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Roberto Mancini has said that teams in England could do with a break. With Spain, Italy and Switzerland enjoying a Christmas and New Year’s rest, English clubs face the prospect of four matches in a 10-day period, which could play a major role in the destination of the title.

Sunday’s Boxing Day program marks the start of the gruelling schedule.

“In England, Boxing Day is a very important game,” said Mancini. “But maybe English players need a rest sometimes.

“It might not be Boxing Day but maybe in January you could have a week off for all the players. That would be a good opportunity for them.”