Birmingham City boss Chris Hughton has said the international break will give his players the chance of a final breather before a 'relentless' schedule leading into the new year.
Blues' nine-match unbeaten run ended at the Madejski Stadium on Sunday with a 1-0 defeat against Reading.
It was their first defeat in the Championship since September 18, while Noel Hunt's winning goal was the first Birmingham had conceded in the league for 501 minutes. It was also their first defeat in seven league games.
The goal came 14 minutes from time when a Jobi McAnuff cross from the right was squeezed in by substitute Hunt with his first touch of the game.
Earlier Birmingham's Boaz Myhill did well to tip over a header from Reading defender Kaspars Gorkss and then made an even better save when he pushed a fierce Joseph Mills drive just over the crossbar.
Reading's Adam Federici was equally busy, Chris Wood testing him with three efforts that the keeper did well to keep out.
Birmingham manager Chris Hughton said "I thought we looked the better side, particularly in first half when we were very bright against a good Reading team that that have a good record here.
"You don't have your own way for 90 minutes at Reading and they probably edged it in the second half.
"I couldn't see us conceding but by our standards I think that when the goal came it was a poor one to concede.
"I thought it was one of those games where one goal could win it.
"It's impossible to sustain top form all season in this league but the important thing is to bounce back after a poor result.
"I don't think our Europa League game on Thursday had any effect on us. I thought we were still going strongly at the end.
"The international break now gives the players some time off.
"We know what's coming after the break when it will be relentless and this is the last chance we will have for a breather."
* Myhill has been pulled out of the Wales squad to play Norway because of a heel injury.