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Wenger toasts Arsenal's "mental strength"

Alexis Sanchez scored again for Arsenal
Alexis Sanchez scored again for Arsenal

Alexis Sanchez and Olivier Giroud have the "mental strength" to spearhead Arsenal's charge for Champions League qualification, according to Gunners boss Arsene Wenger.

Chile striker Sanchez claimed his first goal in eight games while Giroud further erased memories of his Monaco nightmare as Arsenal eased past QPR 2-1 at Loftus Road.

Arsenal boss Wenger believes heavy criticism of Giroud's profligate showing in 3-1 Champions League home defeat to Monaco "was a bit harsh".

He hailed Sanchez as a striker who "never gives up" and backed Giroud to keep shrugging off whatever setbacks come his way.

"It's good because when you don't score for seven or eight games it is on your mind even if you say it's not," said Wenger of Sanchez's neat finish.

"But he took his chance well and he's tricky and has a short back-lift and scored a good goal. He never gives up and that's the strength of a good striker as well. He's resilient and he showed that he has the mental strength to respond.

"Olivier (Giroud) has that mental strength as well, he's strong mentally too. He can take criticism and respond, and he's shown that.

"I feel that was a bit harsh on him because he missed some chances but that can happen.

"We were all down after the Monaco game, but we responded well against Everton, and the confidence we got against Everton paid off tonight."

Arsenal maintained third spot, but were unable to steal a march with the rest of the top four also victorious.

"It's hot up there, yes, because everybody won tonight," said Wenger. "We can only focus on our performances and keep going.

"We have 10 games to go, six at home four away, so we can only keep going.

"I haven't studied the other teams' games, but until mid-April there are five or so teams fighting not to go down and the same fighting to get into Europe.

"Whether the other teams have easier games I don't know."