Jonny Evans admits the timing of transfer Deadline Day was not ideal, after a proposed move to Manchester City failed to materialise.
The West Brom defender has spent the week at City's training ground with the Northern Ireland squad ahead of their 3-0 World Cup qualifier win over San Marino on Friday night, which came less than 24 hours after the summer transfer window closed.
Manchester City had made multiple bids for Evans ahead of Thursday's 11pm deadline, but eventually pulled the plug on their pursuit, with a deal reliant on Eliaquim Mangala leaving the Etihad to join Crystal Palace.
Evans insists he has been able to put the transfer saga to the back of his mind as he focused on recovering from a hamstring injury to play in his first competitive game of the season, but admits Deadline Day did not come at the best time.
"In the back of my mind I've always been thinking 'whatever happens, happens' and just got on with it," Evans told Sky Sports News reporter Paul Gilmour.
"I think I'm quite strong mentally, over the years you learn to deal with things as a footballer, just concentrate on your football.
"The most important thing for me really was that I was fit for the game and trying to deal with that side of it.
"I was pleased to get out and get 90 minutes, obviously the window closes the day before the game it's not ideal. The game came at the right time."
Following the win, Northern Ireland can now guarantee a top-two finish, and likely at least a play-off berth, if they avoid defeat against Czech Republic at Windsor Park on Monday.
Former Manchester United centre-back Evans admits San Marino, ranked 204th in the world, were ideal opposition to regain his match fitness.
"It obviously wasn't the most physical match, we had a lot of the ball so it was a nice one to come back into," he added. "I haven't done much, maybe last weekend was the first time I'd done a hard session.
"Then throughout the week you're sort of being cautious because there's that many injuries in the squad that we didn't want to push it and have myself out for the game."