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Koscielny: We have mindset to clinch title


Arsenal's Koscielny. Picture credit: Russell Cheyne / REUTERS

Arsenal's Koscielny. Picture credit: Russell Cheyne / REUTERS

Arsenal's Koscielny. Picture credit: Russell Cheyne / REUTERS

DEFENDER Laurent Koscielny believes Premier League leaders Arsenal have now developed the mental toughness needed to work their way to the title if necessary.

The Gunners go into FA Cup fourth round weekend a point ahead of Manchester City and two clear of Chelsea following their 2-0 win over Fulham.

He admits Arsenal cannot always be at their high-tempo, quick-passing best, but insists they have found a way to dig in and get the required result.

"We can't play 100 per cent all the time in the way we play, so there will be some moments in some games where we lack quality, where it will be more difficult, where it won't be pretty football, but we stay strong, we graft and we never give up." Koscielny said.

"Mentally, we are stronger than ever. We have won some games this season that we would never have won last season.

"We can feel this season there is something special in the squad. We have all understood that we can achieve something together."

Koscielny feels the "pressure is on" rivals City and Chelsea to deliver the title because of their massive spending. However, the 28-year-old is confident Arsenal can compensate with a strong team ethic.

"We are where we want to be," he said. "It is down to us to stay there, stay focused and stay united, keep fighting for each other, stay consistent and humble like in the first six months (of the season) and maybe it will be our year and we will win it."

Wenger, who could be set to shortly confirm he will extend his contract past the end of the season, has challenged his side to concentrate on themselves rather than what City or Chelsea might do over the final 16 games.

"At the moment, we go through a period where it is always like that, in January, February, this is the period where you just want to be consistent and focus on yourself," Wenger said. "Then, March, April is always (the time) to deal with the nerves."

Midfielder Santi Cazorla struck a quick-fire brace to sink Fulham and Wenger feels the Spain international brings something special to his side's creative options.

"In the last few games I have been getting better physically and my confidence has been growing," Cazorla said.

Arsenal are looking to bring in some reinforcements up front to offset the loss of Theo Walcott to a serious knee injury, with Juventus' Mirko Vucinic one target. Wenger appears more keen on a loan deal for the 30-year-old Montenegro striker, however.