Skipper Fabricio Coloccini has admitted his comeback match for Newcastle United was a tough one to get through.
The Argentine defender had been out injured for over a month but was recalled to Newcastle's starting line-up against Chelsea at the weekend.
In the game, Coloccini showed no signs of lacking match sharpness, as he held off heavy Chelsea pressure to help his side to an impressive 2-1 victory.
However, Newcastle's captain admitted his struggles after the game and says Steven Taylor's red card stopped him from being able to come off in the latter stages as planned.
“It was difficult after being injured for a month,” Coloccini told the Shields Gazette. “I trained twice – and it was a tough – but I played 90 minutes and I’m very happy.
“It’s normal to have cramp after 70 minutes, because I had just trained twice with the team. After Steven was sent off, I had to stay on the pitch.”
Coloccini played a vital role in Newcastle's success at the weekend. The Magpies' defence has coped admirably without him but the combative centre-half's display against Jose Mourinho's side highlighted all his qualities.
Chelsea have looked unstoppable over the season so far but Diego Costa was offered very little space by Coloccini and largely marshaled out of the game.