Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has branded the Premier League's hectic fixture schedule a "disaster" for players but one they must adapt to.
City finished 2017 with three games in eight days, the final clash against Crystal Palace on Sunday bringing their winning streak to a halt at 18 matches.
The league leaders were far from their fluent best in the 0-0 draw at Selhurst Park, while star players Gabriel Jesus and Kevin De Bruyne picked up injuries, leading Guardiola to plead for referees to protect players .
There will be no let-up in the schedule for Guardiola's men with the visit of Watford on Tuesday before cup clashes with Burnley and Bristol City to complete six games in 18 days over Christmas and new year.
The Spaniard is no fan of the intense schedule but he refused to complain, suggesting it was a case of getting his squad ready for the chaos.
"It's a tradition but of course it is not good for the players," he told a news conference ahead of City's clash with Watford. "But they [the players] have to adapt.
"Last season we lost [against Liverpool] and two days later played Burnley and played 65 minutes 10v11. It is what it is.
"If you tell me is it technically and physically good for the players? No. It is a disaster for that.
"But the league is the league, they decide for the Christmas times to do that and of course we are going to adapt.
"So sometimes you have three days for recovery, sometimes four, sometimes two, everybody is the same.
"Last season we had less recovery than the previous season, maybe next season we will have less or more.
"With these kind of things I can give my opinion but do you believe it is going to change something? No way."