Arsène Wenger praised his ‘relentless’ side for increasing the pressure after a promising performance against Sunderland which helped them seal all three points.
A well-taken brace from Alexis Sánchez ensured that the race for top-four places will continue on the final matchday of this campaign, with a home clash against Ronald Koeman’s Everton side. He was questioned about patience, confidence in his players, building momentum at the right time and more.
As quoted by the club’s official website he said, “We were a bit frustrated at half-time because we missed many chances and overall, it was important to keep our composure and not get frustrated. I believe we did that in the second half and in the end we won the game in a convincing way.”
There have been plenty of instances, especially this season, where Arsenal have started slowly and not punished their opposition. On this occasion though, the constant pressure proved significant as Jordan Pickford’s chances of a clean sheet were finally ruined with less than 20 minutes to play.
When asked about whether he was confident that pressure would ultimately provide goals Wenger said, “Especially when teams work so hard defensively against us, you know that in the second part of the game we take over. If we don’t give a goal away, it happens now many times that when we are 0-0 at half-time, we win all the games in the second half and I think that was a positive of the night, it was only 0-0 at half-time.”
Wenger has a habit for discussing the players’ mental strength, whether it’s weak when they suffer defeat, or strong as they occasionally show resilience to fight for results.
“It shows you a lot about the quality of the players and as well about their mental qualities – they are relentless, they don’t give up.
They have been questioned many times on the mental aspect of their game, I think if you look at our record through the season, you wouldn’t question that,” Wenger continued.
With seven wins in their last eight games, Arsenal have progressively improved consistency at a time of frustration and uncertainty around the Emirates. Wenger admitted that momentum has built up at a good time towards the end of this season, but remained focused on the upcoming task against Everton.
Calum Chambers, on-loan from Arsenal, is expected to feature from the start when Middlesbrough travel to Liverpool on Sunday. If the hosts drop points and Arsenal win, the Gunners will seal an unlikely spot in the UEFA Champions League once again.
So naturally, Wenger was asked about the ongoing situation with a top-four place still surprisingly up for grabs this weekend.
“Of course [Chambers can help us], but we have first to do the job [against Everton]. We can get to 75 points, that would be four points more than last season. There’s a difficult patch we had and we played through periods in a very tough environment, I think the team has been very strong and responded very well.“