Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini has denied Vincent Kompany is paying the price for going against his wishes by playing for Belgium last week.
The City captain made an unexpected comeback for the Red Devils in their Euro 2016 qualifier against Israel, having been sidelined since the 2-1 defeat to Juventus in the Champions League last month.
Kompany was subsequently omitted from the starting line-ups against Bournemouth and Sevilla, although he came on as a substitute in both games.
But Pellegrini dismissed suggestions he is punishing the 29-year-old centre-back, insisting rather that the form of Eliaquim Mangala and Nicolas Otamendi is keeping his skipper on the bench.
The Chilean said in his pre-match press conference ahead of Sunday's Manchester derby: "I'm not punishing Vincent and I don't have any problems in the relationship with Vincent.
"I think that after one month, or five weeks, without playing and without training, you must be fit but you are not ready to play an important game. It's important to work some days before he returns to the team.
"I don't have any problem with Vincent Kompany. I need, every week, to choose the 11 that I think is the best for that game and when the others play they must wait.
"It's crucial to play with the best players for the moment. Mangala and Otamendi are doing well. I am happy already with the performance of both of them. I think that both of them are in a good moment, in the same way that Vincent and Mangala were at the start of the season."