Sunday 01 January 2012
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has put his side's rise up the Barclays Premier League table down to a great attitude and spirit in the camp.
The Gunners had a poor start to the season, including an extraordinary 8-2 defeat at Manchester United in August.
But they have improved and their 1-0 win over QPR on New Year's Eve meant that they began 2012 in fourth place in the table.
"When we were in a difficult situation I always said 'look, we have to take the critics and focus on performing better and improving'," he said.
"The spirit in the side got us to where we are today."
- Arsene Wenger
"I give credit to my players because we have been 17th or 18th in the league.
"Nobody focused on that and we improved as a team.
"For me, the spirit in the side got us to where we are today.
"We still have some room for improvement but there is a good base there because the attitude and the spirit are really great."
Wenger said Monday's match at London rivals Fulham would be tough, despite the Cottagers' fluctuating form which has seen them draw away at Chelsea, but lose 5-0 at home against Manchester United.
"I am expecting a tough game," said Wenger. "You can see that everybody finds a good motivation against Arsenal.
"Everybody organises well, stops us from playing and that will happen again at Fulham."
He added: "For us it is always a difficult game at Fulham."