Wenger hails Arsenal resolveArsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes the way in which his side recovered from their European nightmare to beat Everton 2-0 with a determined display at the Emirates Stadium could just prove “vital” in hopes for the rest of the campaign.
There was no repeat of the “suicidal defending” from Wenger’s side which had destroyed themselves in the 3-1 home defeat by Monaco in the first leg of their Champions League last 16 clash on Wednesday night, as Olivier Giroud found his range again with a fine volley on 39 minutes and a late deflected effort from substitute Tomas Rosicky secured all three points.
The Gunners are now just four points behind second-placed Manchester City and one ahead of Manchester United as they prepare for a midweek trip to relegation battlers QPR at the start of a crucial run of fixtures which includes both an FA Cup quarter-final tie as well as a trip to Monte Carlo where they must gamble and hope their luck is in.
“It was vital for us, for the rest of the season, to win the game,” said Wenger.
“What was very important was that we had a mentally united response, we showed that and not everybody can produce that after such a disappointment.”
Wenger felt his side had answered questions over a perceived lack of leadership in the wake of their humbling by Monaco.
“I can understand that we got this kind of criticism after the game because it looked like that, but it’s not permanent,” he said.
“It can sometimes be occasional that not everybody is focused on the right things in the game.
“I believe that we wanted to make the difference too much in the first game [against Monaco] and forgot our basics to defend as a unit.
“Against Everton, we came back to our basics and that was very important to find our confidence back.
“We have three more points than last week and if you look at our Premier League run since November, I think we are in a good position.”
Everton, who were impressive winners of their Europa League tie against Young Boys on Thursday night, had plenty of possession but could not find a way past Arsenal goalkeeper David Ospina, who made a fine point-blank save from Romelu Lukaku.
Manager Roberto Martinez accepts his team are just “not enjoying” their Premier League campaign, with just one win from the last 11 leaving them six points above the relegation zone.
“We have not had the momentum that allows you to win games, and that is something we need to change quickly,” said Martinez, whose side host Stoke on Wednesday.
“But the competition for places is pleasing and our attitude is strong. We have the character, the steel and, more importantly, the talent, so I am looking forward to the coming games.”