Manchester United attacker Shinji Kagawa returned to form on Wednesday night, providing the game-winning assist in his team's 1-0 win over Galatasaray in the opening match of the UEFA Champions League group stage.
Kagawa made an impression in his first appearance since his September 6, where he was substituted at halftime in Japan's 1-0 friendly win against the UAE.
"We got off to a good start at home," the player told Nikkan after the match. "We had two or three chances to score, and then when we did convert it became an easier game to play."
Kagawa combined with team-mate Michael Carrick in the eight minute of play, setting up the goal with a well-placed pass from just outside the penalty area.
"Once I got the ball I was able to pick up speed and move toward the goal," Kagawa elaborated. "That sort of play is important, but I'm disappointed that I wasn't able to take any big shots."
The match was Kagawa's first appearance for United since the club's September 3 win at Southampton, when he was substituted just after the hour mark. After concerns over back pain that forced his withdrawal from Japan's World Cup qualifier against Iraq, the Samurai Blue star watched his club's 4-0 win last weekend against Wigan from the bench.
"Nothing's hurting," Kagawa clarified when asked about the injury. "I've gotten back into form in practice, but I need to improve a bit more physically and increase my momentum."