Chelsea defender John Terry was delighted to finally come through 90 minutes of football unscathed after starring for Jose Mourinho's side in their 3-0 victory against Middlesbrough.
A back injury had kept Terry on the sidelines for almost two months and Saturday's Stamford Bridge appearance was his first start since the 1-0 victory against Newcastle United on December 13.
The 26-year-old told the club's official website: "'I felt fit, no cramping, nothing like that, and it was great to come back after almost eight weeks out into a game we won 3-0.
"For four or five years I've not had a serious injury like that and to have the operation was a last resort. I was expecting a quicker return but the nerve seemed to take a little bit longer.
"It has been a little bit easier watching from the sidelines the last few games when the lads out there have been performing and getting results.
"Now I'm delighted to be back involved just as the title race really kicks in. We're turning the last corner and it's the two of us really battling it out now.
"We need to put pressure on. Man United keep winning but sooner or later they're going to drop points and we need to worry about ourselves. There's no point looking to them and dropping points ourselves.
"They've got key players playing very well but we've got Arjen Robben back, Petr Cech back and Joe Cole is on his way back. We're getting big players back.
"Look at us last season. Towards the end we dropped a few points and Man United closed the gap a little. Now we can hope for similar."