The England international sat out the recent FA Cup win over Leeds, meaning he had not played a game since the 3-1 loss at St Mary's prior to Sunday's meeting with Chelsea.
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"It was hard, really hard waiting to wipe out that memory of defeat at Southampton - I am happy to just play, and happy to get the win," he told reporters.
"I totally respect the fact that Costel [Pantilimon] came in and did brilliantly in the FA Cup for us, and sometimes you just have to wait, I know that.
"But we showed we have the right spirit in being able to bounce back after Southampton. We have got it, no doubt about it. We all under-performed against Southampton - that's gone, you can't do anything now, you move on from that. You have got to look forward."
The 25-year-old went on to insist City can have no excuses for their inability to keep pace with Manchester United at the top of the Premier League and called for his side to keep winning.
"We have to accept our position is what it is. You can speculate and talk about the past but we have just got to look forward and try to win. The only way is up for us," he said.
"It's big, because it is our first league win in a month, and that's why we all love football. You can't not love it - the mood today when the goals went in, and stuff changed, you can't buy it anywhere else."