Southampton's 16-day wait for a return to Premier League action ends on Monday night, and Mark Hughes believes there are positives to take from the lengthy break, even if he would have preferred the opportunity to build on the win at Crystal Palace sooner.
Saints are finishing their preparations to host Brighton and Hove Albion, at St Mary's, as top-flight action returns following the first international break of the season.
The game gives Hughes's side the chance to earn back-to-back wins in the league, following the 2-0 success at Selhurst Park a little more than a fortnight ago, and, although a pause in the schedule might not have come at an ideal time, the Southampton boss doesn't think it will hurt momentum.
mark hughesthe importance of winning the game prior to the international break was really significant for us.
"On the back of such a good performance and result against Palace, I just sense we're coming into a little bit of form, so you feel a bit of frustration, because when you have a good result you want to back it up with another game very quickly and we haven't been able to do that," he said.
"But I just think the importance of winning the game prior to the international break was really significant for us, and I think we'll find that real energy in the group with everyone looking forward to the game on Monday."
The advantage of featuring in Monday Night Football straight out of an international break is the additional time it allows to prepare for the game, and Hughes has been pleased to effectively have been able to operate on a normal schedule for the showdown with the Seagulls.
"With extra days leading into the game, it's a normal set-up," he said. "Sometimes if you're playing on a Saturday, you've got guys coming back on the Thursday and not able to train with the group, and Friday's the first time you see them with the group.
"We've got the benefit of getting most of them back on Thursday, then having Saturday and Sunday for our normal set-up leading into the game on Monday.
"Although we want to get back into it, a Monday night game after the international break isn't too bad or too much of a hardship."