Watford head coach Walter Mazzarri believes his side’s break will stand them in good stead.
The Hornets’ exit from the FA Cup, at the hands of League One club Millwall, together with Chelsea’s progression and the forthcoming international break, means that Mazzarri’s men will play only two matches during March.
Watford began the month with a 4-3 home defeat to Southampton and play Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Saturday.
The Italian thinks the break will be beneficial to his players and help Watford approach the remaining 11 Premier League matches with the right mentality – something Mazzarri feels has not always been the case this season.
“It is not often that you only have two games in such a long period and these 15 days have only been a benefit for us,” he said.
“We have improved some of the details and the small things that we needed to improve, which is important for the future and the remaining games.
“I want to make them understand the mentality they need every game and I think in the past fortnight, it helped because we had the whole group together and we were able to speak about this.
“We have 11 games left and I think the team will produce the performances I want in these 11 games.”
Arguably Watford’s best performance of the season came at the end of January at the Emirates Stadium when they defeated Arsenal 2-1.
The Hornets started the game brightly and scored twice in the opening 13 minutes minutes through Younes Kaboul and Troy Deeney, before continuing to dominate the first half. Alex Iwobi pulled a goal back for Arsenal just before the hour mark but Mazzarri’s team defended brilliantly to hold on to the three points.
The Italian has called on his players to match that display for the remainder of the campaign – starting against Palace.
He said: ” I want my team to play the next 11 games, and not just because of the result, in the same way as we played against Arsenal
“I want the same performance and spirit and if we play like this in the next 11 games then we can push on.
“We have had great games against Arsenal and Burnley and after them we lowered our performance, which we can’t let happen.”
Etienne Capoue may miss the trip to Palace through illness. The midfielder , who has started every Premier League game for Watford so far this season, missed training on Wednesday and Thursday due to a fever and he will be assessed on Friday.
Right-back Daryl Janmaat (groin) and midfielder Nordin Amrabat (ankle) are back in contention – Amrabat for the first time since New Year’s Day – but Christian Kabasele and Ben Watson are still not fit.