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Mancini calls for Premier League winter break

The Three Lions exited Euro 2012 on Sunday night after being defeated by Italy on penalties after a goalless 120 minutes.

Roy Hodgson's men were on the back-foot throughout the game, prompting calls that his side were suffering from a lack of match fitness and further highlighting the need for a mid-season break.

Several European leagues including in Spain, France and Germany have a winter break in place over the festive period to prevent the risk of fatigue and burn-out, and many believe England should take note and consider introducing a break to split the season up.

And Mancini feels fatigue plays a huge role in England's disappointments, while adding that the Three Lions would have faired better had his compatriot Fabio Capello still been in charge.

Speaking to Italian radio station Rai Radio 2 after England's defeat, Mancini said: "Fabio Capello has done a great job with England.

"And if he were on the bench still Italy would have had to try harder.

"I think the British players pay for the fact of playing continuously for 10 months without a break.

"Then they arrive at the competitions dead tired. They usually attack, not defend as in this European Championship."

By Matt Maltby