Arsene Wenger has praised his players for their response to a 'difficult' week after two consecutive home defeats. Santi Cazorla's late game winner against Aston Villa moved Arsenal to within a point of Tottenham Hotspur and the Premier League's coveted top four.
Arsenal were eliminated from the FA Cup by Blackburn and they were defeated by Bayern 3-1 in the Champions League during the week but Wenger's side responded well and the manager was happy to see that.
"The result was vital today," Wenger said. "We absolutely had to win this game. We couldn't afford to drop points for two reasons: we're in a catch-up situation in the Premier League, and we've come out of two massive disappointments. But we were focused, united, a bit nervous … we played a bit with the handbrake on in some situations and the second goal didn't come until the end.
"But we were also strong because, when Villa came back to 1-1, we found the resources to win the game. I'm proud of the attitude of the team. We'd lost against Blackburn and Bayern here, at home, and when people come to the Emirates Stadium they should not be going away with wins. Personally, you do your job and focus.
"I've not been 30 years in this job at the top level to be destroyed by people saying I don't know what I'm doing. I would have stopped doing this a long time ago if that was the case. But we have responsibilities and have to stand up and get the team ready to fight. We went through some difficult days this week and responded in a united way."
Arsenal will meet Tottenham next Sunday in the north London derby. "We cannot drop points," Wenger said of that fixture. "I've said that many times since we lost the Chelsea game [in January]. That's what is in our mind, no matter where we go and who we play. But the key for us will be our consistency. A draw today would have been a very, very bad result."