Lucy Bronze says it was a "big relief" to make her first start for Women's Super League One club Manchester City after recovering from injury.
England defender Bronze signed from Liverpool in November but missed the first three matches of City's season after undergoing knee surgery.
"To not be there for the first game was a let down, probably for the fans and for myself," Bronze said.
The 23-year-old played her first 90 minutes in Sunday's defeat by Arsenal.
After making a cameo appearance against Birmingham City in the FA Cup the week before, Bronze admits she was thankful to finally start for the club.
"It was a big relief," she continued. "I kind of crawled off the pitch at the end, but in terms of my actual knee and the injury, everything's gone to plan."
Bronze, who has 16 England caps, hopes her return to action will have come in time for her to be named in Mark Sampson's squad for this summer's World Cup in Canada.
"It was a bit of a dodgy time for myself with the World Cup coming up," said Bronze. "Obviously you want to get that run of games to put yourself on display for the manager.
"Hopefully I can get a few 90-minute games under my belt and Mark can see that."
City face Bronze's former side Liverpool in Women's Super League One on Sunday, and after winning two league titles with the Reds, she says it was a hard choice to swap Merseyside for Manchester.
"It was a tough decision," added Bronze. "I know people say they move for a new challenge but mine wasn't a new challenge, mine was to get better.
"It was a great club to be at, but I want to push on and I think City is the place to do that.
"It's not just about winning the league, they want to build on to the next thing and next thing. That's something else that drew me to the club."
Bronze's return to action coincided with a nomination for the Professional Footballers' Association Women's Players' Player of the Year award, a title she won in 2014.
"Being a defender, you don't really get the accolades. So just to get a nomination, that's a really big honour for me," she said. "I can't see me winning it back-to-back to be honest, but we'll just have to wait and see."
The PFA Awards will be held on Sunday.