Normally I dread the sight of an international break but with the monumental effort put in at Stoke and injury plagued triumph over Everton, never have I welcomed two weeks without watching Newcastle play so much.
We will no doubt see better footballing performances in the future but the last two games have been the perfect example of the spirit, dedication and togetherness within the squad that has contributed a massive amount to where Newcastle find themselves in the table eleven games in.
Monday night at the Brittania will be remembered for the tactical prowess of Alan Pardew and ability of the side to stick to that game plan. More than that though, Newcastle showed monumental effort and work rate instrumental in getting the result.
From the first right up until the final whistle every single player gave everything they had in the tank. There are not many who come away with a result from Stoke but Newcastle showed exactly what is needed to do so, and it certainly took it`s toll.
This was clear to see against Everton. I think it`s safe to say energy levels aside most if not all of the Toon faithful expected an extremely tough game against The Toffees, even at full strength and fitness. Not caught out by their recent form, being that it was a fixture list probably harder to what we have coming up, I think everyone would have been happy with a draw going into the game.
Once again though, in the face of adversity we witnessed another gritty team performance and great result lifting us to second in the league, for a few hours at least. The critics will have their say as usual but all things considered it was a deserved result and yet another top notch defensive performance.
With Obertan and Tiote already missing, an early injury to Yohan Cabaye and Sylvain Marveaux coming off shortly after half time certainly didn`t help the cause. The steadfast first eleven we have gotten so used to seeing on the pitch every week suddenly looked very different.
Injuries and consequential disruption aside though it was blatantly obvious that the effort put in at Stoke had a lot of the side running on fumes come the second half this weekend. Jonas Gutierrez, Demba Ba and Leon Best looked especially tired in comparison to Monday.
As well as those, the defence didn`t push up half as much as normal, happy to sit at the back and keep Everton at bay. For the most part they did just that. True there may have been a few more gaps than we are used to seeing but generally they defended admirably under pressure.
An abundance of positives to take from the last week made more impressive by the news that we are one of only six sides in the whole of Europe to still remain unbeaten in their domestic league, but it has come at a price. Come the last third of the game against Everton, Gutierrez was the only remaining member of our first team midfield, and at that looked dead on his feet.
With Obertan out for roughly a month and news to come on the extent of the injuries to Cabaye and Marveaux, i`m sure Alan Pardew is overjoyed at the prospect of a bit of breathing space to eat up some of their expected time on the physio table.
Fingers crossed it is nothing too serious in either case but what the international break does give us is a full two weeks grace to let them recover. More than that the whole squad will appreciate the chance to put the feet up for a few days and get back up to peak fitness ahead of the big three.
Obertan will no doubt be out for the month, that much is certain, but what it does mean in his case is possibly two matches out instead of four. After not being risked against Everton, Tiote will be back and raring to go for Manchester City, as will Danny Guthrie and Leon Best who also seemed to be carrying wounds of war as Saturday wore on.
Obviously positivity as regards the injuries to Marveaux and Cabaye is on hold for the moment but like Obertan the international break will shave two weeks off they could have been missing for Newcastle whatever the length of time out.
I think most expect a tough time of it in the next three games. Even the most positive and possibly delusional would have to admit we will be lucky to get much from them, so even if it is a case that we are missing a couple of the regular first eleven, I don`t think anyone replacing can be blamed for costing us a result.
That considered we essentially have just over a month to get everyone back fighting fit for the winter schedule. Our season is certainly not going to hinge on the results against the title contenders but rather the matches in the aftermath.
For me, it is much more important to be back to full strength come the second week of December so that we can get the results needed to make a real push to be the best of the rest come the end of the season.
If we had to push on with fixtures over the next couple of weeks without a break, we may have seen a real dip in form and the work rate we have become accustomed to.
For that reason, as much as I will miss watching The Toon, the international break could not have come at a better time.