With the Newcastle players returning this week after the winter break, there was a common theme coming out of the dressing room. It seems the break came at the perfect time for some Magpies.
While a few got some time to recover from injuries, it was also the mental aspect of the time away that they benefitted from.
Speaking to nufc.co.uk, this is what Martin Dubravka had to say about the few days off the players had:
“We have had so many games in a row, so these few days off definitely helped us to heal some small injuries, and hopefully we are ready for the next games now.
“When you are playing in different leagues (in Europe), you get a couple of weeks off or a couple of days. I’ve had that before as well, so I know how helpful this can be.
“I’m glad that they decided to give us some days off because, especially when you play against top teams at Christmas time, you are tired. If you don’t get a good result, it’s hard mentally as well, so it was perfect timing.
“Football is not only a physical thing. Also mentally, it’s very difficult sometimes, especially when you don’t get a result.”
Newcastle have had a very heavy schedule since the 2-2 draw against Manchester City, which closed November. From that point until the win against Oxford, they played 16 matches.
Included in that stretch was the injury crisis that forced many players to play with very little rest.
That endless slog of game after game had a negative impact on the squad. Steve Bruce even said after the Norwich match that the players looked jaded.
So this break will hopefully do them some good and get the lads reinvigorated for the final 13 league matches as well as the FA Cup match at West Brom.
DeAndre Yedlin also echoed the same sentiments as his teammate about the break helping him reset mentally.
This is what the American told NUFC TV when asked how he felt after having almost a week off:
“Definitely refreshed. It was nice to get some sun. Nice to just get away from football for a little bit and to have time to clear your mind.
“I think it’s important as a player sometimes, cause it can get so built up with the fixtures. Especially with the December we had, and the January we had with all the fixtures.
“I think at least for me more than physically, it was mentally. We had been at the training ground a lot for two to three months.
“Like I said before, it was nice to get away. Get a different scenery and get some sun.”
DeAndre met up with Allan Saint-Maximin in Dubai, so that’s where the sun reference comes from. Yedlin seems quite refreshed from the break, and we certainly hope that Allan is recharged as well after his time off.
This is how Yedlin responded when asked if he was looking forward to getting the season started up again:
“Yeah definitely. That’s the good thing about having this break. When you’re playing the sport that you love and get away from it for a little bit.
“It comes to a point where you’re ready to get back into it.
“It’s the same with the summer break. When you’re away from it for so long, you just want to get back into it.
“It’s a good refresher for everybody, a kind of clean slate, and everybody’s ready to go again.”
Hopefully, we’ll see the benefits of the break with an excellent performance against Arsenal on Sunday.