Michael Carrick has admitted he was not aware how restrictive his Achilles injury was until he had it fixed.
After slipping out of the first-team reckoning at Manchester United at the end of last season, then enduring a disappointing World Cup campaign where he failed to get on the field for a single minute of competitive action, Carrick struggled to make an impact during the early weeks of the campaign.
It was not until he got back from England duty in the Euro 2012 double-header with Bulgaria and Switzerland in September that Sir Alex Ferguson decided the 29-year-old needed treatment.
Virtually six weeks off followed, since when Carrick has figured in six matches on the trot, including the five straight wins that has breathed new life into a campaign that appeared to be heading nowhere fast.
"I should have got something done about my Achilles sooner because I was carrying it for a while," he reflected.
"It is easier to say that now I have got rid of it because I feel great.
"But it is probably only how I feel now that I realise how bad it was. I feel good now and am happy with my game."
Certainly the delicate square pass to Darren Fletcher for United's opener in their three-goal Champions League defeat of Bursaspor on Tuesday was a reminder of what Carrick brings to the Red Devils table.
There are few who caress the ball in quite the same manner and only Paul Scholes can compete in the sheer range of passing Carrick possesses.
At a time when Ferguson's attacking options in wide areas is being markedly reduced due to injury, an alternative way of unlocking defences is essential.
Little wonder therefore that the Scot is happy that rumours of a summer departure for Carrick did not become reality, the player himself committed to showing that the form that dipped so far was only a temporary problem.
"I didn't think I had to answer any critics," he said.
"The only opinions that count are those of the manager and the staff.
"You just have to brush aside the rest of it and believe in yourself.
"I know when I am not playing well. I wasn't hitting my best form so I couldn't argue about the teams the manager was picking.
"I am not big enough to be saying I should be playing every game, so it was up to me to play well again.
"You have to stay positive. I knew things would come good and I am enjoying my football again now."
It is the perfect way to be heading into a week that has the Manchester derby at Eastlands as its focal point.
If the game had been played a fortnight ago, United would be the ones looking weak, their results poor and disharmony in the camp being hinted at.
Now the spotlight is on City, which just emphasises how quickly fortunes can change.
"We know the bigger picture. When things are going well we don't get carried away and when things aren't going so well we don't get despondent either because we know things will turn," said Carrick.
"We are on a good run at the moment. We are happy with the way things are going and are now bouncing into games.
"The derby is there, but in another way, it still seems a long way off.
"We cannot afford to get ahead of ourselves because we have Wolves to play on Saturday and they beat City last week so that is going to be tough enough."
Five points adrift of leaders Chelsea, United have little room for manoeuvre given the points they meekly tossed away in the opening weeks of the campaign.
Late goals at Fulham and Everton, plus the loss of a two-goal lead at home to West Brom may eventually prove costly, although for now, the United camp is targeting an extension of an unbeaten run that extends to an impressive 23 games.
"We are still frustrated about all those silly points we gave away but we are unbeaten and that gives us a lot of confidence," said Carrick.
"It gives us confidence to know we are tough to beat again.
"We have always been able to score goals. Now is the time to start getting the results we want."