Arsene Wenger has welcomed the return of Arsenal ’s fighting spirit.
Before a massive North London Derby away to Tottenham, Wenger conceded that his men were left reeling by the heavy defeats to Chelsea and Bayern Munich in February.
Gunners boss Wenger said: “The first Bayern game and the one against Chelsea, were a big knock. For a while we were a bit like a boxer who had been put on the floor twice.
“We lost a little bit, and people interpreted that as the players not caring. No. Maybe it is because they care very much that they were like that. Shocked. We were shocked.
“The turning point is that you have to revolt and say, ’Come on. That cannot go on’. The players care. The players have a good mentality. I love the attitude of this team.”
The new-found streak of determination has also been acknowledged by the fans.
Rather than the vicious, anti-Wenger sentiment so apparent this season, there is more solid support for the team after three successive wins.
“I feel that, yes,” said Wenger. “There is a good atmosphere compared to one or two months ago.”
The Frenchman added: “On the combative side, yes, we will be right. In this kind of derby you know commitment will be 100 per cent.
“And we are the team that has scored more goals than anybody in the final part of a game. We have the highest number in this league – by far – scored in the final 10 minutes.”
And what of opposite number Mauricio Pochettino – the man who has revitalised Spurs and who will ensure his club finish above Arsenal for the first time in 20 years with a win this afternoon?
Arsene Wenger admits Arsenal still want to finish above Tottenham this season
“I like him, he has done a good job overall,” said Wenger. “I think he’s done extremely well.”
But asked if the Argentinean can be one of football’s greats, Wenger cautioned: “I don’t know how people judge.
“People who have not been in the game cannot judge managers. They judge the last few games and say, ’OK, he’s great’ — maybe the guy who works at youth level at Milton Keynes is better than all of us!”