Date: 28th December 2016 at 8:37am
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Manager Arsene Wenger’s full thoughts on Arsenal’s Boxing Day victory over West Bromwich Albion are now known.

Hosting Tony Pulis’ side at the Emirates for the game, Olivier Giroud gave us the late one nil victory with his strike in the 86th minute and with total domination of the game and numerous efforts on target it was a deserved three points – but credit to the visitors they made it a tough game.

Speaking to the Official Site Wenger explained to the post game press crowd that he felt persistence paid off for the side because he knew it would be a game we had to be patient in.

‘Yes, we created plenty of chances. We needed today to be patient, keep our composure in our game and not make a defensive mistake – that`s what we did. They had a chance through Yacob in the second half, but overall I felt that defensively we were quite sound and we had, I thought, with 10 minutes to go I thought we could play a draw or even, if we were not intelligent, lose the game.’

Despite dominating chances across the game and severely restricting West Brom’s attempts on the day, Wenger went on to praise how organised they were across the 90 minutes.

‘Overall I believe West Brom were well-organised, we passed the ball quite well and quickly but we didn`t find the incisiveness that is needed because they basically played six across in their final third. We have little pockets where you usually get in but we found it difficult today. But we kept going and in the end when we couldn`t make the difference on the ground, we made it in the air with maybe the only player in our team who can do that.’

Questioned about confidence in the camp, he went on to say that naturally it depends on the results.

‘The confidence is swinging, depending highly on the results. We have played 20 games, 14 games in the Premier League and six in the Champions League without losing a game. And we lost two on the trot so the confidence, of course, is hit. But after that, as well, it`s testing because it`s a good test. There is no season without disappointment. It is interesting to see how the team responds to disappointment.’

Of course that led to how important this victory was on that front.

‘Of course it was vital. But you`re under pressure before the game. It`s exactly the tie you don`t want, West Brom. You`re under pressure, you know they defend deep, they are well-organised, they are resilient – we are super-favourites. And you can just have a big problem if you don`t win the game because mentally of course, if you don`t win for three games, it`s always difficult. Although I think we lost two games under very special circumstances.’

With it being a decent run prior to the back to back defeats, Wenger also spoke about about how he feels there’s a greater resilience in the group this year and that they are better placed to deal with setbacks.

‘I feel yes because it`s normal that I tell you yes, but we have to show that for the whole season to maintain that kind of resilience. At the moment there is quite a big distance between us and Chelsea and we need a special resilience to come back, but I hope that the other teams will have as well their moments of weakness and we can only take advantage of it if we continue like that.’

With Giroud finding the net again in the game to register his sixth strike of the season, Wenger also spoke about him.

‘He makes always a point when he comes on because he`s scored many times when he`s come on. He has qualities in our squad that are needed and that the other players have not. And he is a fighter as well, Olivier. He has a fantastic mentality. It has been very frustrating for him because he didn`t always play and when he played well I didn`t always play him in the next game. But I think we have an honest relationship. I have a big respect for him and he knows that. He was not always playing and despite that, he kept a strong motivation level. Our job, when you`re a football player, you have to be always ready. That`s part of the job. When you`re selected, it`s fantastic. When you`re not selected, you have to be ready. And the players who are always ready when they get their chance, they are there. And the players who feel sorry for themselves, they get their chance and they give you one more reason to justify why you didn`t select them. The fighters are always ready.’

Wenger added about selections and to the question what did Giroud have to do to keep his starting place.

‘We are not in an administration here. We are in a competition. You do not have ‘your place’, like a seat that you buy with a season ticket. We are competing and I think if I have only one striker, everybody says ‘What are you doing, you have only one striker?!` So you need two or three strikers and we have Welbeck coming back so most of the time I will have to make the decision considering the opponent we play. Like today, I knew it would be deep and that in the air could be a solution. So I have to make the right decisions.’

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