Sam Allardyce cancels Christmas party because of Everton’s festive demands

• ‘It’s not needed at the moment because of the position we were in’
• Allardyce returning to Newcastle to face old foe Rafael Benítez

Sam Allardyce has cancelled Everton’s Christmas party after telling his players their form this season is no cause for celebration. Everton are unbeaten in three matches in all competitions under their new manager, four in total, with the sense of crisis that preceded his appointment eased by a rise to 10th in the Premier League.

The manager believes Everton have turned things around before Wednesday night’s visit to Newcastle United, a former employer of his, but with six points separating the team from the relegation zone, and having been knocked out of the Europa League at the group stage, Allardyce believes a Christmas party would be an unwarranted and unwelcome distraction from a demanding festive programme.

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