Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny told his team that grinding out tough results would set them up for Premier League success.
Arsene Wenger’s men have made a strong start to the season, six wins from their opening eight games seeing them sitting level on points with leaders Manchester City.
With the club aiming for their first league title since 2004, Koscielny said being able to win difficult games would be decisive.
“If you want to be champions, you have to win the tough games,” he told Sky Sports.
“The most important thing is to win games when you are not playing well. We need to come out of games saying, ‘it was difficult, but we won 1-0’.
“It’s important to have this during the season whenever we have bad moments or when it’s difficult to play our football.
“We need to stay strong like a unit, defend together and win games 1-0, that’s the most important thing.”
Far from tough was Arsenal’s most recent outing, a 6-0 thrashing of Ludogorets in the Champions League on Wednesday.
But Koscielny said his team needed to stay grounded ahead of Saturday’s hosting of Middlesbrough.
He said: “We beat Ludogorets 6-0 but we need to keep our feet on the floor.
“The squad is better, we are more experienced and we have played together a long time.
“The league is very long – it’s a marathon, not a sprint. We can see from last season that it’s difficult to stay high in the table.”