Fulham boss Chris Coleman has outlined his concerns over the packed festive fixture programme to the League Managers Association.
“The Christmas period, whilst it’s exciting, it is difficult and it really worries me, because we haven’t got a big squad, we’re thin on the ground. The pace of the game is fast these days and the matches come thick and fast, so you can get injuries.
“If we get injuries or suspensions we’re really stretched and we struggle. This concerns me, so we are quite hard on our guys, certainly in terms of our physical regime. Of course they’re not walking around in handcuffs but we do keep an eye on them and make sure they are physically tip-top and that’s all the squad.
“I know a lot of managers don’t like their players playing in the reserves but we prefer them to get as many games as they can. If they are not in our team they have got to be ready to come into the team, it doesn’t matter who they are. We’ll train everyday over Christmas, they’ll get no time off, it’s our job, we’ll have our relaxation in the summer.”
Coleman also detailed how he feels he has progressed since becoming the top flight’s youngest ever manager when he took over from Jean Tigana in 2003.
“I think and hope I’ve improved across the board as a manager. In the Premiership if you just had to look after the football team, you’d be happy and we’d all want to do it, but there’s a lot more to it than that.
“It was a big eye-opener for me and I had to learn quickly, I’m still learning, I’ll never stop learning. This is my third year now, at the start I was, not irrational, but some of my decisions were knee jerk reactions, now I’ve learnt to sit back from it and try to look at the bigger picture on nearly every decision I make. If it’s a team selection, if it’s about a contract, if it’s something that’s been said in the press, talking with the board, talking with the media, the longer I’ve done it the more I think whatever I say, I’ve got to make sure it’s spot on because there could be repercussions. I’ve learnt to sit back a bit more and not be so quick in my judgement.
“The bottom line, of course, is about winning football matches, if you get that right normally everything else sits into place, so that’s what you’ve got to concentrate on the most.”