Houllier happ with British tradition

While all other major leagues across Europe - including in Houllier's native France - shut down over Christmas, the Barclays Premier League heads into its busiest period.

It is a bugbear for some players, who have to forfeit cherished family time for the demands of training, while the recent bad weather has caused some to call for Britain to fall into line with the rest of the continent and introduce a winter break.

But for Houllier, whose side host Tottenham on Sunday, Boxing Day is one of the highlights of the football calendar.

"It's a great tradition in England," he said. "The players sometimes feel a bit frustrated not to be with the family, but we are lucky because we're playing at home so we can practically enjoy the full day, whereas the Tottenham players will have to travel.

"I think we've got to be aware that it's an English tradition and among the tradition is Boxing Day. I like the atmosphere of Boxing Day football because a lot of families come with their children and it prepares fans for the future."

Source: PA

Source: PA