Arsene Wenger believes Arsenal have a tougher mentality this season and challenged his side to maintain that mindset for the remainder of the campaign.
After suffering defeat in their opening two Champions League fixtures, Arsenal defeated Bayern Munich 2-0 to kick-start their European push last week and now sit level on points with Premier League leaders Manchester City – held at local rivals Manchester United – following a 2-1 win over Everton on Saturday.
Wenger praised his team’s combative spirit, in particular the improvements of Santi Cazorla and Mesut Ozil, but stressed they must be consistent if they are to remain near the summit come May.
“They are all on board and they have the belief. Cazorla won many balls and blocked many tackles [against Everton], even Ozil,” said Wenger.
“Once you have that in the team, it is not easy to get it, but it shows the belief is there and then you need enough humility to keep it in there.
“You need to convince the players that you have to work hard to win football games in the Premier League and that you need all 11 to do that.
“It’s too early [to say if we are title contenders], the only thing I can say since January 1, 2015, we have shown consistency and this week we have shown consistency.
“That has been questioned many times by people.”
Olivier Giroud echoed his coach’s sentiments, stating that all his team-mates are willing to fight for one another.
“I think we are stronger mentally this year,” Giroud said. “We are all fighting for each other. We have a great togetherness and we want to achieve big things all together.
“If someone is a bit tired then someone else will battle and fight for each other.
“That’s the mentality we need to show through the season. If we carry on like that then we will be difficult to beat.”