Olof Mellberg has expressed his frustration at Aston Villa's forthcoming prolonged period of inactivity but he wants the team to ensure that the three-week break without a match can be turned to their advantage.
When the final whistle heralded a 2-0 defeat away to Reading last Saturday afternoon, the Villa players walked off the Madejski Stadium turf in the knowledge that their next match would not be until the trip to west London to face Fulham on March 3.
Worse still is the lack of action at Villa Park. When they play Arsenal at home on March 14, it will be the first match at Villa Park since the one against West Ham United on February 3 — a gap of 39 days.
Mellberg, the Villa centre back, is used to playing two matches a week and he has bemoaned the enforced break.
Villa's misfortune is because of various reasons. Their absence from the fifth round of the FA cup tomorrow gives them a free weekend and Arsenal's progress to the Carling Cup final means their scheduled match against Villa on February 24 has been moved to March 14.
Villa will only have played two matches in February and three in March, for there is an international break next month.
By the time Martin O'Neill's men play Everton at home on April 2, they will have played just five matches in 57 days.
"It is strange what is happening now because we’ve had a lot of games recently, plus last week’s internationals," Mellberg said. "We’ve played Saturday-Wednesday-Saturday for several weeks now.
"Now we have a three-week break and then there are a lot of games again and the double internationals will also be there in a busy period in March, April, May.
"People say this spell can recharge your batteries and we have got to make the most of this break but, ideally, you want to play games. I like the Saturday-Wednesday-Saturday formula.
"You get into a rhythm and it’s difficult when you get into a long break like this — but we will have to make the most of it and come out firing against Fulham."
The additional frustration of playing so few matches is that it gives Villa little opportunity to put right the problems of recent months. The team have only won twice in their last 16 matches but have played far better than their results suggest.
Indeed, those two victories came against teams who are now in the bottom three of the Premiership table but Villa could easily have won their away matches to Newcastle United (lost 3-1) and Reading (lost 2-0).
"At this stage of the season, you want to win games," Mellberg said. "That’s what it is about. It doesn’t really matter how.
"It is more at the beginning of the season that you want good performances and you know the results will come. At this stage, we haven’t got that many games to go and just want to get as many points as possible.
"Away points are crucial if we are to get into the top half and, when you don’t achieve that, it also puts pressure on us in home games.
"It is really important to have a good home record and we have to keep that going but, hopefully, we can get a few points away from home because the performances are there."