Manchester United captain Nemanja Vidic believes being eased back into first-team football after serious knee injuries is the right thing to do, but insists he is feeling better with every game.
Vidic, 31, has started United's last two matches - the FA Cup win over Reading and the Premier League victory at QPR - but has been spared the demanding routine of weekend and then midweek fixtures by manager Sir Alex Ferguson since his comeback in December.
The Serbia international suffered a cruciate knee ligament injury in United's Champions League exit at Basel in December 2011, ending his season. While he returned for the start of the current campaign, he was out for a further three months from September.
Vidic says he still sometimes feels swelling in his knee after a game but hopes those problems are behind him as his recovery proceeds smoothly.
"It was just swelling sometimes after matches," he said. "There was no pain, it was just a reaction as the knee got used to the work again. It is a normal thing. I have played twice in five days now and it has been good."
Vidic was a surprise omission when United faced Real Madrid in the Champions League last 16 first leg a fortnight ago, but Ferguson said he did not want to risk the central defender, who had faced Everton three days earlier.
"I had problems with my knee and I was so long without football. It is difficult now we are playing Wednesday-Saturday-Wednesday," Vidic said.
"I have had to think whether it is good for me to play or not. Sometimes I will get a reaction and sometimes I won't. This is normal. Since I came back I have had to say if I can get through the two or three months, then I will be fine.
"It is not a long-term thing. It is the normal procedure after the kind of operation I had. After I'd had surgery I knew we'd then have to manage the knee and then after that it would be normal again. It is all dependent on the individual. But it should be soon. After every game I am feeling better and that is a good sign."