While Premier League fans might look forward to this time of the year with anticipation of spending the holidays with family, friends and their favourite football clubs, the managers and squads dread this period.
Most sides end up playing three games in six days, with a clash on Boxing Day, then one a couple of days later and another on New Year’s Day.
Speaking to BBC’s Match of the Day after Everton’s 1-0 win on his debut, manager Carlo Ancelotti felt this was asking too much of his players, and not just for the Toffees but for all the teams in the league.
”We are used to recovering after three days, but after two days is too much in my opinion. We have to play but it is impossible to recover so it effects the performance, not just for us, but also for Newcastle.”
On making his Everton bow at Goodison Park where he was met with a rousing cheer when he was introduced at the beginning of the game.
“For me, it was a really special moment [being introduced to the crowd]. After that, I saw a good performance and a good result. Today was a perfect day. I’m happy because we need points to move up the table. It was a difficult game because Burnley played a strong game but we deserved the result.
”We tried to build-up with three defenders to put more players between the lines, and some situations were good for us and others have to improve. This is normal and I didn’t want to change a lot for the players. I have seen some good things. The spirit of the team, the fact Everton is a family and we have fantastic facilities.”
The Blues dominated possession against Burnley, but struggled to create clear-cut chances against their well-oiled visitors who thrive in games such as this where they can use their size and discipline to suck the life out of home stadiums.
Still, there appeared to be no panic from the Everton bench and the biggest reaction we saw from Ancelotti was more from refereeing decisions than anything else. His clenched fist celebration when Dominic Calvert-Lewin levitated to head home the winner told the whole story as he maintained his record of remaining unbeaten in his his first game in charge throughout his career.