Arsene Wenger has vowed not to rush Tomas Rosicky on his return from a knee injury and risk him spending another period on the sidelines.
After a series of setbacks in his battle for fitness, the Arsenal midfielder made his first Premier League appearance since January 2008 in the 4-2 defeat at Manchester City.
"It is good to have Tomas back but he is not completely fit to play in top-level competition yet," said Wenger. "We have rushed him back before and he has had setbacks, so it is important to be patient and not put too much pressure on him."
He added: "He has quality. We know that. He is a top-class player and we have missed him for 18 months.
Rosicky's return was the high point of another frustrating weekend in Manchester for the Gunners.
In the space of a fortnight either side of the international break, Arsenal's promising start to the campaign has been derailed.
At Old Trafford, Wenger felt Arsenal were the better team yet they ended up getting beaten by Manchester United. And it was the same at Eastlands, where City continued their 100% start.
"Manchester City negotiated the turning points a bit better than us," conceded Wenger.
"Defensively, we were a bit shaky and if you make mistakes at that level, you pay for it."
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