Arsenal defender Mathieu Debuchy admits he is far from 100% fit after being rushed back into the team for the FA Cup semi-final win over Reading.
Debuchy started at Wembley ahead of Hector Bellerin, who was a late withdrawal with an ankle problem, and produced an inadequate performance at full-back on his first appearance since January after three months out following shoulder surgery.
And the 29-year-old admits he was some way from peak fitness for the crunch semi-final that saw Arsenal eventually prevail after extra-time, highlighting the risk manager Arsene Wenger took in starting the France international.
"No [I was not fully fit]," he said. "I need to work hard again but I hope to be ready and 100% soon. I'm so happy because it's so important to be back on the pitch. It was a good team performance. It was hard for me after my second surgery this year but now it's behind me and I'm so happy to play for Arsenal.
"It's been difficult for me. Two surgeries in the same season is difficult but now I'm OK and I want to play a lot. I want to help the team and I am focused on the end of the season. I need to play some games. I hope to play for the rest of the season. I need to try again, again and again."
The three-month absence was Debuchy's second lengthy spell out of the Arsenal first team this season after he underwent ankle surgery in September 2014 following a nasty fall in the draw with Manchester City.
A dislocated shoulder was the reason behind Debuchy's latest absence, an injury sustained following an off-the-ball push from Stoke City's Marko Arnautovic, but Arsenal's 2014 summer signing has refused to criticise the Austrian for the incident.
"It's football," he added. "I know Marco Arnautovic and it's just football. I'm OK. It was hard. It was three months after three months. I am strong in my head now and I'm happy to do my best now. I always knew I would come back."