Vincent Kompany admits there are no guarantees his body will hold up following his comeback in Manchester City's 3-2 win over West Bromwich Albion on Wednesday evening, having returned from a thigh problem.
That was Kompany's first full 90 minutes since 2 October and the captain is mindful of the injuries that have plagued his career during the past three seasons.
"My head can promise I will not break down again but my body can't," he said. "I want to be back for as long as I can. I can blame myself for a bad performance but I can't blame myself for being injured. I will do everything I can to stay fit. I live my life like the best of professionals and hopefully by doing the right thing it will resolve. It's all a matter of getting back to the rhythm. If you play three, four, five, six games in a row you will get out of it."
Kompany admits that he may have returned too early from previous injuries, with City's medical staff having to hold him back this time.
"They forced me to wait a bit longer [before returning]," the central defender said. "But it is a tricky thing to talk about because you do everything right. I feel great right now and in every game I've played but there is only so much you can promise. You can promise you will do everything right on the pitch but you can't promise your body will always be there. But I have a good feeling.
"I should kick myself sometimes for always wanting to come back too early but that's how I am. It's very difficult to change my nature as that's what's made me as a player as well. I will always keep giving everything I have, be that in training or games. But the medical or trainer gives the wiser decision."
Kompany's differing problems have included thigh, groin, calf and hamstring issues. But he is unsure if these are related. "I don't know whether the injuries are linked," he said. "I've had a bit of bad luck as well. Hopefully it will now leave me alone for a long time. I live for my job. Football is my life. If you're not doing that you feel you are not doing what you're supposed to. I've seen people get injured and they've done things wrong. But I don't feel I've done a lot wrong, I live my life the way I should do and when I'm fit like now I feel incredibly strong. I just want a run of games.
"I've been out for so long I was just dying to be released [to play again]. When you go away from home and get a great result the feeling is just so much better."
The win over West Brom was only City's second on the road in the league. "I don't know why our away performances have not been this good – sometimes there is no explanation," said Kompany. "You just have to work hard, it's a cliche but that's the truth."
Of his own display, he said: "There's no such thing as coming back and being a hero. That's the biggest mistake you can make, if you come back and think you will be the hero. Obviously the opposite happens, I had to slot in and help but I'm just a team player trying to do the best for the team and that's why I play well. The games are thick and fast. But I'm not trying to be a hero, I just want to be there. When the team plays well it helps. It's an important period for the club, the team and any team."
"Southampton away [on Saturday] is a game you can expect to be very tricky, they have played well and are also a good footballing side who can mix power and pace and technique. It's a very difficult game but nothing should be given to you in this league so if we do get a result it will be a very powerful statement of intent. But the games keep coming."