Gabby Agbonlahor has said that O'Neill leaving out the majority of the first team for the CSKA match could prove to be crucial to our Champions League aspirations.
Speaking to Sky Sports the pacy striker said that the break and the additional recovery time will be vital to our hopes of securing a Top 4 position at the end of the season and catapulting ourselves into the Champions League.
Being given this break ahead of the Stoke match, and with obviously no more European date interruptions Gabby believes the squad will remain fresh enough to see us through until the end of the season.
'You need time to recover, the manager gives us that, and it will help us to see things through to the end.'
After todays matches we are four points behind Chelsea and Liverpool, and 5 points ahead of Arsenal. Gabby understands the position the club now find themselves in and he doesn't believe tirdness will be an issue when you compare that to what is at stake.
'I don't see tiredness being a problem and we are all aware what is at stake. Qualifying for the Champions League would be superb.
'The next few weeks are really big but there is a mood of optimism amongst the players. We are going into every game feeling confident and looking for a positive result.
'There is great strength and determination in this team. We have scored quite a few late goals. It shows the team will fight to the end.'
That strength and determination has been evident all season long with the matches you consider we've come from behind in, or gone on to win late. Let alone dragging out points from matches we didn't really deserve to get anything from.
The squad have been digging deep all along, and they only need to dig deep for a few more games and their summer holidays will be very well deserved this year.
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