Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany has expressed his relief at finally being free to play again after spending the last two months feeling like a caged bull.
Kompany has endured an injury-hit season so far, initially spending a month on the sidelines early on with a groin injury prior to a thigh problem keeping him out recently for almost nine weeks.
The 27-year-old returned to action in Wednesday's 3-2 win over West Brom at The Hawthorns - a result close on paper but distorted by the fact Albion scored twice in the dying stages when City had eased off.
Centre-back Kompany concedes that but for those last few minutes "it would have been the perfect game" as City returned to winning ways on the road after back-to-back away defeats.
Personally, feeling no after-effects from playing the full 90 minutes after his injury lay-off, there was obvious delight at again being at the heart of City's well-oiled machine.
"The only reaction is a big smile, obviously," said Kompany, speaking to media after the game.
"For a long time I was like a bull in a cage waiting to be released, so when I got my chance in this game it was such a great feeling."
Despite his desire to play again, Kompany was fully aware he had to ease himself back into the match rather than go out and play like, well, a bull in a china shop.
"The most important thing for me was not to try to be a hero. To think that is the biggest mistake you can make," Kompany added.
"Those kind of games are ones where you can make a difference on your own, but we needed a team performance, and I just tried to slot into the team, to show I could help, and it helps with the team we have."
For the opening 45 minutes City were a cut above Albion, producing a performance that made a mockery of their away form going into the game after taking just four points from six matches on their travels.
Silky, but incisive football resulted in two breathtaking team goals. Sergio Aguero scored his 17th of the season in the ninth minute, with Yaya Toure adding a second 15 minutes later.
With the job done, City took their foot off the gas in the second half, although Toure netted his side's third from the spot in the 72nd minute.
Only in the dying stages did the visitors let their advantage slip, initially via a bizarre Costel Pantilimon own goal before Victor Anichebe fired home in the fourth minute of stoppage time.
Despite that, the win keeps City in touch with Barclays Premier League leaders Arsenal, who they face at the Etihad Stadium on December 14 after first visiting Southampton this Saturday.
Kompany conceded the victory over Albion lifted a weight, saying: "Very much so.
"It was a massive game for us. Any away win in this league is important.
"The teams have strengthened up in the Premier League this season, which makes it a little bit harder.
"Having said that, we have such a massive boost out of this game to go into the next one.
"The performance was great, probably until the last 15 minutes, but other than that a very good way to start the month of December.
"The games keep ticking away. It's another away game out of the way.
"Now we go to Southampton, and if we beat them then all of a sudden we've a lot of things in our hands again.
"That's the mission, but everybody knows that anyway."