Manchester United veteran Paul Scholes is happy he is not watching the Premier League title race unfold away from the pitch, conceding that "coaching was OK but it wasn't anything like playing".
Scholes, 37, retired from playing last summer only to make a dramatic U-turn on his decision in January, when United were struggling to chase down Manchester City.
The former England international has since played an infleuntial role as Sir Alex Ferguson's side have gone on an 11-game unbeaten run to open up a five-point gap over City and move to the brink of a record-extending 20th league title.
It could have been very different for both United and Scholes had he not returned and the midfielder admits he is relieved to be involved again having helped coach the club's youth players in the first half of the campaign.
"The coaching was OK but it wasn't anything like playing,'' Scholes told MUTV. "I was still coming in every day and seeing players. It was difficult to adjust, I admit that.
"I really missed the playing side up until Christmas, when I went to see the manager.''
Scholes can already boast ten Premier League winners' medals but he is just as desperate to claim an 11th as he was the first and is delighted with the way the title race has unfolded.
"You would have snatched someone's hand off for this position a couple of months ago,'' he said. "We have put ourselves in a decent position but there is still a long way to go.
"We are going up against a very good team in City. They have had a fantastic season and they have a great squad of players that is capable of beating anybody.
"They can go on runs and win games and are capable of winning at Arsenal. But with this five-point lead we just have to concentrate on ourselves.''