Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola says the festive period is “going to kill the players” after they beat Watford 3-1 in their 10th game in a month.
Gabriel Jesus is out for one to two months with a knee problem he suffered two days earlier at Crystal Palace.
Kevin de Bruyne was also injured in that game, yet faced Watford, and Kyle Walker pulled up against the Hornets.
“I know here in England the show must go on, but that’s not normal guys,” Guardiola told BBC Sport.
City are 15 points clear at the top of the Premier League in his second season in charge, their goals against Watford coming from Raheem Sterling, an own goal from Christian Kabasele and Sergio Aguero.
A former Spain international, Guardiola has previously managed Barcelona and Bayern Munich, both of whom play in leagues with winter breaks, and he has been a regular critic of England’s festive schedule.
“We’re going to kill the players,” he said after the Watford game. ” They play 11 months in a row. They have to protect them and play with quality and not quality. We have to think about the artists.
“I know it is not going to change but for what? Life would survive without playing every two days. Nothing would happen.”
Right-back Walker was holding his groin at the end of Tuesday’s game, and Guardiola says the club will have to “check it out”.
“You can play every three, four or five days but not play every two days because at the end it happens like with Kyle Walker or yesterday with other players,” he added.
“I am not saying you have to change the amazing thing that you play on Boxing Day and the people can watch at home all around the world – but you cannot play a tough game at midday at Selhurst Park, come back, the people can celebrate New Year’s Eve and then play two days later.
“The people who understand about that, they say it is impossible to recover 48 hours after a game. That is not basketball or tennis where you can play every day or every two days – here the players need recovery.
“And maybe Kyle will be out but you see how many players have got muscular problems in that period.
“I think this is not going to happen because tradition is tradition but just think about it a little for the players please – they are artists, the reason why all together we are here.”