Mikel Arteta has called on Arsenal to get tough as they try to cling on to top spot in the Premier League.
Arsene Wenger’s side face three crucial fixtures on the bounce when they face Liverpool at the Emirates in the league, Borussia Dortmund away in the Champions League and then go to Manchester United in search of three points.
Arsenal are bidding to end eight years without a trophy – but lost the chance of potentially winning a trophy last night when they were beaten 2-0 by Chelsea in the Capital One Cup.
Now Gunners midfielder Arteta says they must stay strong and battle through the testing games if they are to be within a chance of claiming the title.
Asked if the Spanish star would settle for a place in the top four and Champions League qualification, he said: “No, I wouldn’t take it, I always expected us to do better than fourth place.
“It’s very pleasing to be top and it takes a lot of pressure off. We know how we’ve been over the last few seasons and how difficult it is to go into every game knowing how far away you are from your opponents.
“This is where we want to be and we will fight hard to stay where we are. You need that degree of toughness, we have had difficult moments in different periods of games, and when you manage to get the points at the end despite that, it increases your confidence and makes a massive difference.
“We want to maintain where we are now, it’s the most open Premier League title in years because of the quality of the players and the teams.
We want to challenge and I think we’re able to do it because we have the quality and the desire, but there’s still a long way to go.”