Fulham’s Bryan Ruiz is relieved to be back playing again after a frustrating spell on the sidelines.

The 27-year-old has been out since suffering a hamstring injury in the 3-1 defeat to Sunderland on November 18.

Ruiz suffered a setback in his recovery and only returned to action yesterday, playing the entire second half of the 1-1 draw with Southampton.

“I was really pleased to be back in the side and to play 45 minutes but I was disappointed with the result,” Ruiz said. “We knew we needed to win and we couldn’t do it.

“At half-time they said I was going on and I was surprised. I was happy to play again and they just told me the position I needed to play in and what I had to do on the pitch.

“We started the second half well but then Southampton were playing long balls and it became more difficult for us.”

Ruiz’s absence coincided with a poor run of results for Fulham, who now lie just six points above the relegation zone.

“We didn’t take any risks with the injury,” Ruiz said. “We’re trying to do things properly.

“Now it’s a case of doing preparation work to avoid another injury.

“Every team has bad moments. At the beginning of the season we were playing really good football but we’re having a tough period now. We have to stay together and get back on track.”