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."
|Angels star Ohtani cleared to resume pitching|
|´I don´t give a f***´ – Cousins hits back at critics after Warriors move|
|Merritt leads Barbasol Championship|
|Ruud awakening for Ferrer in Bastad|
|Nibali withdraws from Tour de France with back fracture|
|Fabinho: I´ll try to convince Mbappe to join Liverpool|
|Beating Messi boosted France´s World Cup belief – Lloris|
|Carnoustie saving the worst until last|
|McIlroy´s youthful exuberance could be a bad sign for Carnoustie contenders|
|Saints triumph at second-placed Wigan|
|Anfield atmosphere sweetened Alisson on Liverpool|
|Bouchard reaches Gstaad quarter-finals|
|´What are you waiting for?´ - Alisson reveals Salah text messages|
|´Full package´ Alisson could not be missed - Klopp|
|Alisson to Liverpool: Brazil star becomes most expensive goalkeeper in history|
|Alisson to Liverpool: Brazilian´s stats blitz Mignolet, Karius|
|Liverpool sign Alisson in world-record deal|
|The Open 2018 diary: Spieth´s got ball skills as Finau proves the scratch golfer|
|Woods: Score doesn´t reflect how well I played|
|Can we go to Paris now? - Thomas in a hurry after conquering Alpe d´Huez|
|Thomas: I could have finished stronger|
|Kisner shines at baked Carnoustie as McIlroy, Rahm and Thomas loom|
|Sarri´s mentality made me a better footballer - Jorginho|
|Tax rates played a role in Ronaldo joining Juventus, says LaLiga president|
|Aggressive McIlroy doing it his way, not the fairway|
|I let him have it - Spinazzola ribs Ronaldo over Juve shirt number|
|Thomas makes it back-to-back wins|
|Ramos may remain for Spain but Luis Enrique promising surprises|
|Cazorla still playing through pain after Villarreal appearance|
|Vegas to Carnoustie - a hellish trip for Jhonattan|
|NFL training camp 2018: Five under-the-radar rookies to watch|
|Woods off to a flyer as Thomas charges|
|Sanchez given green light to join Man Utd tour|
|Greipel, Groenewegen and Gaviria latest sprinters to abandon Tour de France|
|Luis Enrique hopeful over Pique as he plots a Spanish evolution|
|I had a brain fart - Spieth disappointed with missed opportunity|
|I´ve sacrificed too much to quit, says injury-plagued Rossi|
|Klopp rejects Henderson´s plea to return early to Liverpool training|
|Open champion Spieth loses ground in scrappy finish|
|Alexis Sanchez hints visa issue sorted as United States trip beckons|
|Kovac an admirer of Pavard, expects James to stay|
|Dzeko happy at Roma and eyeing silverware|
|Eels win basement battle with Bulldogs|
|Kluivert to follow Totti´s example after taking ´big step´ with Roma|
|Kisner hopes to return Claret Jug favour to Spieth|
|FIBA bans 13 players & two coaches over Philippines-Australia brawl|
|Spieth and Rahm in the mix as Kisner sets the target|
|Monchi insists Roma remain ambitious as Liverpool close in on Alisson|
|Cavendish thanks ´race that shaped career & heart´ after cruel Tour exit|
|No Trent Bridge Ashes Test as England confirm schedule|
|Ajax tell Barcelona not even ´insane´ money will buy De Ligt, De Jong|
|Hamilton agrees two-year Mercedes extension|
|Uran withdraws from Tour after failing to shake off injuries|
|Spieth tees off Open defence|
|Zidane has shown no will to coach France, insists FFF president|
|Risking the curse - Steelers star Brown lands on Madden 19 cover|
|Pogba silenced his critics with World Cup displays – Ibrahimovic|
|Warburton overwhelmed by support following retirement|
|Wilshere excited by tactics of Wenger-like Pellegrini|
|Deschamps never considered France exit prior to World Cup win|
|Persepolis eye Champions League after Iran impress at World Cup|
|Sandy Lyle gets The Open underway at Carnoustie|
|Roosters sign England international Hall|
|Ovechkin, Kim earn major honours at ESPY Awards|
|Owens not ´actively seeking´ to play in NFL again|
|Argentina need Messi – Tevez urges Lionel not to retire|
|Minnesota United 2 New England Revolution 1: Ramirez, Quintero sink stuttering visitors|
|Shaw: I want to be first name on Man United teamsheet|
|Manny Machado dealt to Dodgers|
|Pjanic hails Ronaldo arrival but refuses to confirm Juve future|