Arsene Wenger believes his side can handle the pressure at the top of the Premier League table, but the Frenchman acknowledged that there was a long way to go in the title race.
Speaking after Arsenal’s 2-0 victory over Blackburn that extended the Gunners lead to five points at the top of the table, Wenger paid tribute to the resilience of his side.
He said: “I feel we handled the pressure very well each time this year when we’ve had our backs to the wall.
“Last week we were the first to play, at Manchester City, and we won. This week we were the last to play and we won. We’ve come up with the same answer each time.”
With 12 games of the season remaining Wenger accepts that there is plenty of time for Arsenal to be caught, but remains confident his players can cope with the growing pressure.
“We always had the belief from the first day but there’s still a long way to go,” he acknowledged. “As soon as you’re not at your best at the top, you can drop points.
“We have seen that over the weekend. We have still 12 games to go. We are in a good position. We believe we can do it.
“It’s far from being over. We’ll have to fight until the last minute of the championship. We still have hard games ahead of us.
With closest rivals Manchester United and Chelsea dropping points at the weekend, Wenger admitted he was surprised that Arsenal now held a five-point lead at the top of the table, but was taking nothing for granted.
“Five points in front, we’re not going to believe we have no chance. We didn’t expect to be where we are after this weekend,” he continued.
“We believe we have a chance to do it, but we’re conscious as well that we have to keep our humility, our team spirit and the way we want to play the game. We have to focus on that.”