Nottingham Forest manager Mark Warburton said the international break has been useful to prepare for the rest of the season, starting at Preston on Saturday.
A 2-2 draw with Derby County preceded the international break and Warburton said the two-week gap in fixtures has been vital to work with the players and on tactical play.
He said: “It has been very useful. The boys worked very hard in the few days after Derby, then they had a few days off which they need at this stage of the season, and have come back in again and shown a fantastic attitude.
“It has been useful to get to know the players, as obvious as it may sound. You need to understand how they work, their strengths and weaknesses, and they need to understand our demands, what we expect day in and day out at the training ground. I am delighted with the time spent.
“It is like a mini season. I don’t think radical changes are called for, you have to try and tweak a few things if you can, get your key points across to the players and hope they understand them, which they have done.”
Matt Mills and Eric Lichaj have been back in full training after injury while Jack Hobbs is close to a return for The Reds, and Warburton feels their experience could be crucial for the run-in, starting with a tough trip to Deepdale.
He said: “Preston are having a great year and are tough to beat; Simon has done a great job there. They will be pushing hard for the play-offs and it is more than do-able for them. It is a tough place to go, it is a great stadium and we are looking forward to it.
“They are strong, defend their goal well and play well on the counter. They have good physicality and can score goals and they are a real, quality threat. We recognise it, respect it, but will try and dominate the football and cause our own problems.”
Forest find themselves in the middle of a relegation battle and Warburton knows that The Reds need to show their quality and prove that they can stay in the division.
He said: “It is too easy to say you are too good to go down. What we have to do is show our quality, work hard and prepare well for every single game. We need to focus on getting the performances and results we need to, to ensure we stay in the division.
“Knowing the division fairly well, there are no easy games and you are never surprised when bottom beats top. It is the nature of the Championship, the games come thick and fast and there are no easy places to travel to. Every team will look at their fixtures and know what they have to do. The only concentration for us is solely on Preston.
“You look at the average to stay in the division over the last few years and it is lower than people realise. Then you get the perverse year when it is a lot higher. You just have to focus on your own displays and try and get as many points as possible.”