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."
20. Juni 2018
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|Belgian Grand Prix deal agreed until 2021|
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|Slater expects to be fit for Origin II|
|Curran and Overton added to England ODI squad|
|Hussey fears Australia will be left with ´mental scars´|
|Fabianski swaps Swansea for West Ham|
|Loftus-Cheek ready to replace Alli|
|England are a team now - Rashford|
|Lazaridis calls for Cahill to start against Denmark|
|Arzani and Ryan can play at the highest level, says Bosnich|
|Dust (Ja)pan and brush: Blue Samurai fans clean up in Saransk|
|Lodge reaches agreement over New York attack|
|Gerrard can become a strong manager - Arena|
|Arsenal target Torreira has left for €30m, says Sampdoria chief|
|Murray unsure over Wimbledon participation|
|De Gea has to bounce back from Ronaldo shocker - Bosnich|
|Martinez not looking for perfection|
|Farah´s Wests Tigers return confirmed|
|Cubs get extra-inning win to split doubleheader with Dodgers|
|Denmark will ´struggle´ if Australia stop Eriksen, says Jakobsen|
|Astros´ win streak ends at 12|
|Lahm backs Germany, Low after losing start|
|Messi has all our support – Dybala|
|Strickland apologises for ´stupid decision´ that led to broken hand|
|Five-time Open Championship winner Thomson dies aged 88|
|´Positive´ Pogba not bitter towards media, says Varane|
|Portugal privileged to have ´humble´ Ronaldo, says Pepe|
|Strickland breaks hand punching door after blown save, out for up to eight weeks|
|He will have received good money – Costa delighted by Griezmann extension|
|Kane: Pochettino sent me love hearts after World Cup heroics|
|Nationals place Adams on 10-day DL with broken finger|
|Dybala: I can play alongside Messi|
|Lewandowski: Poland didn´t take enough risks|
|England´s Kane aiming to reach Ronaldo, Messi levels with World Cup performances|
19. Juni 2018
|Kicker given three-year match-fixing ban|
|England confirm Alli thigh injury|
|Federer through, Zverev out in Halle|
|Back on the map and earning letters from ladies, Tabarez embraces Uruguay´s heritage|
|Rampant England rout Australia in record-breaking display|
|Pulisic in right place at Dortmund, says Arena|
|Wilshere confirms Arsenal exit|
|NASCAR at Sonoma: TV schedule, standings, qualifying drivers for Toyota/Save Mart 350|
|Muguruza and Kvitova cruise through in Birmingham|
|Leno among top 10 most expensive goalkeepers|
|Pained Salah unable to halt Russia´s unlikely march|
|Kyrgios downs ´legend´ Murray as Dimitrov and Djokovic progress|
|Neymar pain normal – Coutinho unconcerned by ankle issue|
|Russia 3 Egypt 1: Salah strikes but hosts right on course for last 16|
|We must make Ronaldo less exceptional, says Morocco boss Renard|
|Chandimal handed one-Test ball tampering ban, faces further ICC charge|
|Arsenal sign goalkeeper Leno from Leverkusen|
|Mexico style in Germany win surprised Arena|
|Monaco complete €20m move for Lyon teenager Geubbels|
|Saudi team don´t know cause of aeroplane fire, Pizzi reveals|
|Champions League qualifying draw: Celtic travel to Armenia, Ajax face Sturm Graz|
|I´ve never seen a player win on his own – Santos shrugs off Ronaldo dependence|
|Murray impresses despite narrow defeat on return|
|West Ham land club-record Diop signing|
|El Hadji Diouf hails ´perfect start´ for Senegal|
|Cisse and Senegal give cause for African celebration|
|Carvajal ready to face Iran - Hierro|
|Japan´s World Cup victory over Colombia sparks celebrations on the streets of Tokyo|
|Poland 1 Senegal 2: Good fortune and bad errors hand Africans Group H win|
|England shatter ODI world record with total of 481 against Australia|
|Best yet to come from England hero Kane, says Rashford|
|Salah starts for Egypt against Russia|
|De Jong expects to stay at Ajax|
|Barcelona angered by Pique´s involvement in Griezmann saga|
|Federer begins Halle defence with comfortable Bedene win|