Nemanja Vidic admits he has to carefully select which games to play in during the first few months of the Manchester United defender's comeback from a second serious knee injury in 12 months.
Vidic made only his second start in Saturday's 2-0 win over West Bromwich Albion since mid-September. He was an unused substitute for the Boxing Day visit of Newcastle United having suffered a reaction in his first start at Swansea City the previous weekend.
"The doctor is managing the games [I play]," Vidic told manutd.com. "Over the first two or three months I have to really look at the games I can play because sometimes I might have a reaction. This is a process I have to go through. I am glad I have managed to play after three months. It is nice to be on the pitch and playing games. Hopefully I can."
Vidic suffered his first injury when rupturing a cruciate knee ligament in a Champions League group game at Basel last December which kept him out for the remainder of that season. He then required surgery to the meniscus in the same right knee after experiencing the problem during training with the club in September.
United have suffered a series of injury problems with the most recent ones this campaign including those to Phil Jones, Vidic, and Chris Smalling that left Rio Ferdinand and Jonny Evans as the only fit central defenders and Shinji Kagawa's own knee problem that caused him to miss two months until he returned against West Brom.
"The strength of the squad is important. It is always important to have a big squad," Vidic said. "The gaffer has always managed to do well with so many players. It has worked well for us, especially when you look at the injuries we have had over the last few years. We have had a lot of injuries in the past. We should look at doing something about that."
The captain also believes United's younger players will learn from last season when the club allowed an eight-point lead over Manchester City to slip with just six games remaining.
United, who travel to Wigan Athletic on New Year's Day, are currently seven points better off than City, and Vidic said: "It is good to have this advantage. But we have to be careful. There is still a long way to go. We have the experience of last year when we were eight points in front and in the end it didn't finish well.
"I think this season is different. We are more mature. We have young players who have the experience from last year. That is a big help for the team. With the experience we have already, we can do well I think."