LUKAS Jutkiewicz will recharge his batteries this weekend ahead of renewing Middlesbrough’s promotion push at Millwall on Tuesday.
Boro would have been entertaining Arsenal in the fifth round of the FA Cup tomorrow had they managed to overcome Sunderland in last week’s fourth-round replay.
As it is, though, the Teessiders will enjoy a free weekend on the back of their 2-0 midweek win over Nottingham Forest, a first in the league this year.
And Jutkiewicz believes that success has silenced a few critics, in the short term at least.
“It was massive three points,” he said, “Everyone kept mentioning that stat, that we hadn’t won a league game since Boxing Day.
“What they don’t say is about the performances we’ve been putting in when we weren’t getting results, like the cup displays against Sunderland and at Leicester, where we almost won.
“So it’s just nice, in the nicest possible way, to shut people up!”
The Forest win was also a first for Jutkiewicz since signing for Boro from Coventry City last month.
The 22-year-old bagged his second in as many matches against the Tricky Trees, and he admits he goes into the mini-break in good spirits.
“There are going to be a lot of games in a short space of time so it’s important we rest when we can,” he said.
“We need to prepare right and hopefully it will give the lads who are coming back from injury a little bit of extra time to recover.”
And, of his 46th-minute effort against Forest – a cool finish from 20 yards – he went on: “It was a nice feeling to get off to a good start in the second half.
“I thought that from then on we’d go on and get another and maybe another after that.
“But it wasn’t to be and it ended up being a different kind of game to what we’d hoped and obviously the sending off didn’t help but.
“I’d like to congratulate particularly the defence and the whole team for putting in such a strong performance at the end to get the three points.”