BBC pundit Mark Lawrenson has criticised West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini after the Chilean complained about the action-packed festive fixture list.
The Hammers are set to play their fourth game in 12 days against Brighton on Wednesday and Pellegrini's squad seem to be wavering under the heavy workload. In their last fixture against Burnley, West Ham were lackadaisical as they fell to a 2-0 defeat at Turf Moor.
Following the defeat, Pellegrini seemed to blame the busy festive period for his side's poor performance. He claimed that "his side's lack of energy" was as a result of "the quick turnaround in games," as reported by BBC Sport.
However, speaking ahead of West Ham's upcoming fixture against Brighton, Mark Lawrenson took exception to the Chilean manager's excuse.
“You know at the start of the season it's manic at Christmas and New Year. The Chilean wasn't complaining when his side were on a run of four wins on the bounce.
“This period is why the league is so good. It's never going to change unless they bring in a winter break.”
The Premier League fixture list at this time of year has always been somewhat controversial, with many complaining that it hampers English teams in Europe. With leagues such as La Liga implementing a winter break, there's an argument to suggest that their clubs are fresher going into the latter stages of the Champions and Europa League.
However, much to the dismay of Pellegrini, West Ham's clash with Brighton precedes an FA Cup tie with Birmingham City taking place just three days after the Premier League game.
The 2-0 defeat to Burnley on Sunday was the Hammers' second in their last three games, leaving them 11th in the table. However, a home fixture against 13th-placed Brighton offers an opportunity for West Ham to get back on track and continue their surge towards the top half of the table.