Arsene Wenger insists Arsenal never lost their self-belief during a poor start to the season after his side started 2012 in fourth.
Gunners boss hails players' spirit
Arsene Wenger insists Arsenal never lost their self-belief during a poor start to the Premier League season after his side started 2012 in fourth place.
The Gunners secured a 1-0 victory over fellow London outfit QPR on New Year's Eve, with Robin van Persie scoring the all-important goal.
The three points propelled Arsenal to fourth in the table, usurping Chelsea and Liverpool in the standings.
Few would have predicted such a rise after their poor start to the campaign, but manager Wenger is adamant his players never lost faith.
"When we were in a difficult situation I always said 'look, we have to take the critics and focus on performing better and improving'," he said.
"I give credit to my players because we have been 17th or 18th in the league.
"Nobody focused on that and we improved as a team.
"For me, the spirit in the side got us to where we are today.
"We still have some room for improvement but there is a good base there because the attitude and the spirit are really great."
Despite the Gunners' recent form, Wenger is expecting a difficult encounter at Fulham on Monday having seen his resources depleted by injury, particularly in defensive areas.
"I am expecting a tough game," he said. "You can see that everybody finds a good motivation against Arsenal.
"Everybody organises well, stops us from playing and that will happen again at Fulham.
"Of course we have three points and will be very focused to get the win there.
"For us it is always a difficult game at Fulham."