Arsene Wenger has rubbished the suggestion he is punishing Alexis Sanchez for the Chilean's desire to leave Arsenal by restricting his involvement in the Premier League.
Sanchez's sole start in the top flight this season came in the 4-0 thrashing at Liverpool in August, with Wenger having used him as a second-half substitute in the home win over Bournemouth and the 0-0 draw with Chelsea since.
However, Sanchez started the 3-1 Europa League win over Cologne – in which he scored his first goal of the season – and the 1-0 victory over Doncaster Rovers in the EFL Cup on Wednesday.
It has been speculated that Wenger is reluctant to play Sanchez in the league due to concerns he is not fully committed to Arsenal's cause, after he failed to secure a deadline-day transfer to Manchester City.
But Wenger insists his involvement has only been restricted by the abdominal injury he picked up after returning from holiday following Chile's Confederations Cup campaign.
Asked if he is concerned about Sanchez's focus, Wenger told a news conference on Thursday: "Not at all, that's going to very quick conclusions.
"He's been out and injured and I thought he was a little bit short physically on Sunday [against Chelsea]. I played him last night to give him more competition.
"There's no disguised attitude on my side. I just try to get him back to full fitness. I just try to give him competition and get him back to his best.
"He had a long holiday and came back not really fit and then he got injured. But last night, you could see he's coming back sharp and I left him on for 90 minutes so he could have a real go.
"All the players are important, he's not more than any other. I used the team at Chelsea who could be strong on the counter-attack and fight hard. Sanchez could have played if he had been fit."
Jack Wilshere made his first start for the Gunners since May 2016 in Wednesday's win at the Emirates Stadium and impressed in the home side's midfield.
Wenger said afterwards he is ready to hand the England international a chance in the league but he is still not sure if he will stay at Arsenal beyond the end of the season, when his contract expires.
"I've said many times, it's down to whether he can remain fit," the Frenchman said.
"I think he's an Arsenal man and an Arsenal player. He'd certainly want to. I don't know, we haven't spoken about that. We said at the start of the season we have to see what kind of influence he can have throughout the season."
Wenger added he is happy with club-record signing Alexandre Lacazette's adaption to the team, despite him having scored only two goals this term.
"He's adapted to the team play, he connects well with the other players, he's disciplined and works hard for the team," he said. "I'm very pleased on a technical and tactical aspect.
"He still needs to adapt to the physical aspect of the Premier League, which maybe takes a little time."
|Stop worrying about Chelsea – Conte hits back at Mourinho|
|Roma better than Chelsea, says Nainggolan|
|Basel coach Wicky demands more focus|
|Heynckes calls for patience from Bayern´s reserve stars|
|Dzeko was born to score – Di Francesco|
|Pique handball instinctive, says Barcelona boss Valverde|
|Emery calls for PSG improvement despite perfect start|
|Lemonis rues Olympiacos collapse against 10-man Barca|
|Rodgers: Individual class inhibiting Celtic|
|David Luiz experiment failed, admits Conte|
|Allegri not impressed despite crucial win|
|Svilar risks a lot – Mourinho was aware of Benfica youngster´s shortcomings|
|We played better against Atletico – Hazard|
|Job done for Mbappe and PSG after another big win|
|Simeone maintains ´absolute´ belief in Atletico despite Qarabag draw|
|CSKA Moscow 0 Basel 2: Xhaka, Oberlin do the damage|
|Juventus 2 Sporting CP 1: Late Mandzukic intervention saves wasteful Bianconeri|
|Bayern Munich 3 Celtic 0: Hoops outclassed on Heynckes´ return to Europe|
|Chelsea 3 Roma 3: Hazard brace rescues Conte´s men after Dzeko double|
|Anderlecht 0 Paris Saint-Germain 4: Mbappe takes one record as Cavani closes on another|
|Barcelona 3 Olympiacos 1:Ton-up for Messi as Pique sees red|
|Benfica 0 Manchester United 1: Rashford goal settles poor game after woeful Svilar error|
|Messi joins Ronaldo in European 100-goal club|
|Good results are on the way in the league - Salah|
|Algeria restore Madjer to the helm|
|Griezmann eyes qualification despite Atleti´s Qarabag stumble|
|FA chief Glenn denies Aluko´s ´bordering on blackmail´ claim|
|Mbappe surpasses Kluivert as Champions League´s highest-scoring teenager|
|Ozil is a warrior - Pires sympathises with Arsenal star|
|Benfica teen Svilar breaks Casillas´ Champions League record against Man Utd|
|Balotelli can improve even more - Favre|
|It was special to face role model Modric, says Winks|
|Robben named for Champions League century|
|You can´t question Arsenal´s character - Wenger hits back at Deeney|
|Qarabag 0 Atletico Madrid 0: Simeone´s side in trouble after shock draw|
|Guardiola´s Catalonia stance dismissed by Spanish minister|
|Oldham appoint Wellens over Scholes, Seedorf|
|FA apologises over Sampson remarks to Aluko and Spence|
|Montella willing to accept ´exaggerated´ Milan criticism|
|Napoli confirm Insigne adductor strain|
|Urawa Reds 1 Shanghai SIPG 0 (2-1 agg): Rafael Silva books Al Hilal decider|
|Not a tragedy if Italy miss World Cup, says Zola|
|Hummels: Bayern players contributed to Ancelotti´s sacking|
|Dzeko considers Chelsea among Champions League contenders|
|Cavani doesn´t need to be friends with Neymar|
|Ozil and Sanchez committed to Arsenal, Mertesacker claims|
|Don´t stress it - De Bruyne relaxed over initial Man City contract talks|
|Nagelsmann´s path will lead to Bayern, says Heynckes|
|Stones satisfied with strong Manchester City showing|
|Redknapp: Spurs boss Pochettino could manage Real Madrid|
|That will be hard to beat – Klopp revels in record win|
|Spurs showed they can compete with elite - Pochettino proud after Madrid draw|
|Ballon d´Or? We all know Messi is best, says Valverde|
|He´s getting better – Zidane backs Benzema|
|Napoli star Insigne unsure if he´ll be fit to face Inter|
|Manchester City can win Champions League, says Napoli boss Sarri|
|Berizzo plotting Sevilla´s revenge after Spartak Moscow humiliation|
|Porto boss Conceicao defends Casillas omission|
|We know it´s difficult now, admits Dortmund boss Bosz|
|It´s tough but it´s not over - Van Bronckhorst|
|Monaco know it will be difficult to qualify now, says Sidibe|
|I don´t know what happened - Sarri bemused by Napoli´s slow start|
|We are growing consistently, insists upbeat Zidane|
|Guardiola hails ´perfect´ City after beating ´one of the best´|
|Real Madrid can´t be happy with Tottenham draw, says Navas|
|Klopp heralds counter-pressing as Liverpool run riot against Maribor|
|Liverpool break record in Maribor thrashing|
|City style fades but newfound steel gives Guardiola reason to believe|
|Ederson kept us in it - Walker relieved after City´s second-half wobble|
|APOEL 1 Borussia Dortmund 1: Sokratis header spares Burki´s blushes|
|Emery backs ´intelligent´ Mbappe to respond|
|Feyenoord 1 Shakhtar Donetsk 2: Bernard brace piles pressure on Van Bronckhorst|
|Monaco 1 Besiktas 2: Tosun double pours more misery on Jardim´s men|
|Spartak Moscow 5 Sevilla 1: Clinical second-half show stuns woeful Spaniards|
|RB Leipzig 3 Porto 2: Hosts claim maiden Champions League victory|
|Maribor 0 Liverpool 7: Salah and Firmino doubles inspire rampant Reds|
|Manchester City 2 Napoli 1: Guardiola´s men see off Serie A leaders despite second-half scare|
|Real Madrid 1 Tottenham 1: Ronaldo on target as Lloris heroics earn point|
|´Older, better´ Dzeko feeling good on return to England|
|Persepolis 2 Al Hilal 2 (2-6 agg): Kharbin at the double as Al Hilal reach final|
|Monaco without Ghezzal and Jovetic for Besiktas clash|
|De Bruyne agent eyes Neymar, Mbappe-style wages for Manchester City star|
|Mertesacker not interested in Deeney’s ´cojones´ comment|
|Craig Shakespeare sacked by Leicester City|
|Messi is the best in the world, says Paulinho|
|Valverde ready for ´emotional´ game against old boys OIympiacos|
|Manchester United expecting a tough game against Benfica, says Ashley Young|
|Rafinha has ´no interest´ in Barca exit - Mazinho|
|Mourinho would be happy with draw against wounded Benfica|
|O´Neill wary of Eriksen threat after Republic of Ireland draw Denmark in World Cup play-offs|
|Simeone and Atletico wary of Qarabag threat|
|Robben set for landmark as Barca´s Valverde welcomes former side - Champions League in Opta numbers|
|Conte´s harsh words will motivate us, insists Alonso|
|Mourinho: I´m not signing new contract and I´m not joining PSG|
|Bayern´s Martinez out for at least two matches|
|Besiktas ask fans not to attend Champions League clash with Monaco|
|Fit-again Morata could face Roma, Conte reveals|
|Juventus must share the blame for defensive woes, says Chiellini|
|Nice president supports Balotelli for Italy recall|
|Celtic´s Roberts modelled his game on Robben|
|World Cup play-offs: Italy to face Sweden, Republic of Ireland meet Denmark|
|Juventus are not in any kind of crisis, says Allegri|
|Watford can beat Chelsea claims Cleverley|
|Sigurdsson admits to falling short at Everton|
|Lloris hails ´machine of success´ Cristiano Ronaldo|
|Ox not ready for central role, Klopp says|
|My career´s gone - Redknapp flags likely retirement|
|Spurs must be wary of Isco ´magic´, warns Pochettino|
|Riedle defends Bundesliga quality amid early Champions League struggles|
|Manchester City v Napoli: The numbers behind Europe´s most lethal attacks|
|Jardim says French champions Monaco down on confidence|
|Spurs star Kane an obvious target for Real Madrid – Redknapp|
|Bosz and Dortmund eyeing much-needed victory as Schmelzer returns|
|Szczesny: I didn´t improve at Arsenal due to tactical gulf|
|Pochettino wants ´10 or 15 years´ at Tottenham|
|Shakespeare hails Mahrez response after ´kick up the backside´|