The England defender made his return from a 12-game lay-off with a hamstring problem in the 3-1 win over Watford at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday.
"It's been a joy to watch while I've been out," he said. "You get a different insight into how we play and see it from a bird's eye view in the stand.
"In some of the games - not just here but away as well - we have done really well. Sadly the run got stopped at Crystal Palace but we're just back to winning ways and that's good.
"I think (injury) makes you appreciate it more. You should take advantage of it as much as you can when you are on the pitch and cherish the time you're out there and give your all.
"There's a learning curve while you're injured as well and that's how I try to take it, but to come back and get three goals, three points, is a good way to come back."