Minnesota United head coach Arian Heath believes the international break has provided a good mental boost for his squad.
The Loons went into the break following a tough run of seven games in three weeks across all competitions, managing just two wins during that window.
But after some time away – with Heath himself returning to England for a short spell – Minnesota have now reconvened ahead of this weekend’s friendly against German 2 Bundesliga side Paderborn.
Speaking to reports following a training session on Tuesday, Heath believes his players have come back refreshed and ready to take on the second half of the MLS regular season.
“I think more psychologically and mentally than physically,” he responded when asked how the break had benefitted his players. “I think for some of the guys, it came at a good time. But I think overall, mentally, we’re at that stage of the season where just to get away and everybody recharge their own batteries in their own little way, get away from each other, away from the training ground for a little period. It was good for everybody.”
Winger Niko Hansen echoed his head coach’s comments, insisting he and his teammates are ready to attack the second half of the season in a bid to lift the Loons from their current eighth place in the West.
“Towards the end there, we had six games back-to-back-to-back, Wednesday-Saturday. It was a perfect time for us to go rest and take a break,” he said. “We may not be where we want to be right now, but we have a whole second half of the season to ramp it up and I think it was perfect for guys to rest the mind and body.”
On the quality of training since the players returned, Hansen added: “It’s been good, I think you can tell guys are ready to. When you go away, you don’t necessarily fall back in love [with soccer] again, but you miss it, then you come back and you just feel, not necessarily more confident, but easier on the ball and not thinking about things as much.”
Following the friendly against Paderborn at Allianz Field on Saturday, MNUFC travel to the New England Revolution on June 19.