Arsene Wenger insists Danny Welbeck did not suffer a recurrence of his recent injury despite coming off at half-time as Arsenal lost to Cologne.
The Gunners, showing 11 changes from Saturday's north London derby success over Tottenham, were beaten 1-0 in a poor contest at the RheinEnergieStadion.
A controversial second-half penalty settled the tie as Mathieu Debuchy was adjudged to have fouled Sehrou Guirassy in the area when there was minimal contact.
Wenger's side still progress as Group H winners despite the defeat and there was more good news for Arsenal fans as the Frenchman revealed the plan was always to withdraw Welbeck, playing his first game in a month following a groin injury, at the interval.
"It was planned before the game that he would only play 45 minutes," he said.
"He has only just come back from injury, and we have three more games on Sunday, Wednesday and Saturday again.
"Medically, the risk was a bit too high to play him for longer because he has been out for a while. He has no problem.
"Of course, he was ready to stay on and frustrated to come off, but he's in good shape."
Arsenal forward Danny Welbeck will be out until after next month's international break with a groin injury sustained against Chelsea.Read the full story ›
Arsene Wenger is ready to unleash forward Danny Welbeck back onto the Premier League after another long injury lay-offRead the full story ›
Arsene Wenger has backed Danny Welbeck to be back to his best when he recovers from his latest injury blow - but admits the forward may find another lengthy lay-off psychologically testing.
The 25-year-old England international suffered a serious knee injury in last weekend's 2-2 draw at Manchester City and is now expected to be out for as long as nine months.
Asked if he was worried he would never see the old Welbeck again, Wenger replied: "There is no medical reason why he should not recover, but where there could be some psychological damage.
"It's huge commitment to get back to playing really freely.
"His play is explosive and committed so we need to make sure no tackles can hurt him when he comes back. But I don't think it is physically he will suffer."
Wenger intends to keep Welbeck away from the training ground in the early stages of his recovery - with his hopes of representing England at this summer's European Championships also dashed.
"The first stage when they are on crutches is the worst one," Wenger explained.
"In Danny's case I believe it will be 12 weeks on crutches without any support. Once the player can work again (and) he feels his recovery is going upwards, then you have done the job. But the first period is very depressing."
Danny Welbeck played an hour of Arsenal's Under-21 encounter with Brighton on Friday afternoon having been out for almost 10 months with a knee injury.
The 25-year-old forward underwent surgery in September for the problem after initially injuring his knee in April - with manager Arsene Wenger unable to react to the news by bringing in another striker as the summer transfer window had just closed.
Welbeck, who moved to Arsenal from Manchester United in the summer of 2014, has therefore not turned out for the first-team this season but continued on his path of recovery by playing 60 minutes of a Barclays Under-21 league clash against the Seagulls at Arsenal's London Colney training base.
Arsenal led 3-0 when Welbeck was replaced by Josh Dasilva but the England international did not manage to get himself on the scoresheet - although he did play for longer than Wenger had anticipated.
Talking about the striker's return ahead of the game, Wenger said he hopes to have Welbeck back in first-team contention in as little as three weeks.
The Frenchman said at his weekly press conference:
I believe that he needs to play two or three games before thinking about coming back into the first team. He has not played for 10 months so we need to be patient with him. He has good basic fitness but after it is competitive decision-making and he needs to get used to that again.
We can organise games internally without being official games and I think in the next three weeks he should be available.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger denied lying about the extent of Danny Welbeck's injury in the run-up to the transfer window closingRead the full story ›
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger does not expect Danny Welbeck to be fit enough to be in contention for the FA Cup final, casting doubt over the striker's availability for England duty next month.
The Gunners ended the Premier League campaign with a 4-1 win over West Brom at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday, where Theo Walcott netted a hat-trick.
While Walcott strengthened his claim for retaining his place in the starting XI against Aston Villa at Wembley on May 30, and midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's late substitute appearance renewed his hopes of being involved, Wenger confirmed Welbeck's knee problem was likely to rule him out next weekend.
That could put a question mark over whether the striker will be fit for the upcoming international friendly against the Republic of Ireland in Dublin and the Euro 2016 qualifier away to Slovenia.
Asked by Press Association Sport whether he thought the 24-year-old could be fit for the FA Cup final, Wenger said: "Welbeck will be short because he has not practised yet."
A 15-year-old boy arrested after sending an alleged racist tweet aimed at Arsenal striker Danny Welbeck has been cautioned.
The teenager, from Salisbury, Wiltshire was held and questioned on suspicion of racial abuse following the posting of a message on Twitter after Welbeck scored the winner to knock his former club Manchester United out of the FA Cup on March 9.
A Wiltshire Police spokesman said:
A 15-year-old boy, from the Salisbury area, has been given a youth caution following the appearance of a racist tweet aimed at a former Manchester United player placed on social media on the evening of March 9."
Welbeck, who has been capped by England 33 times and scored 13 goals, joined Arsenal last year for £16m following the arrival of new Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal.
The Manchester-born striker spent six seasons at Old Trafford after coming through the club's youth system.
Arsenal forward Danny Welbeck has pulled out of the England squad to face Italy because of a knee injury he suffered in Friday's 4-0 win over Lithuania, the Football Association has announced.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has confirmed Danny Welbeck will remain sidelined with a thigh injury for a further two weeks.
The striker hasn't played for the Gunners since the Premier League victory against West Ham at the end of December.
Midfielder Mikel Arteta has been ruled out for three moths with an ankle problem, while defender Mathieu Debuchy is facing a similar spell on the sidelines with a dislocated shoulder.