Arsene Wenger praises Arsenal's mental strength after Reading win

Last Updated: 18/12/12 8:21am

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger praised the mental toughness of his side after they responded to criticism with an emphatic Premier League win over struggling Reading.

The Gunners ran out 5-2 victors at the Madejski Stadium on Tuesday night, with hat-trick hero Santi Cazorla the star of the show in a rampant Arsenal performance.

Lukas Podolski and Theo Walcott also struck for Wenger's side, who moved to within two points of the top four with the win.

Wenger felt talk of a crisis at the North London club, escalated by the Capital One Cup defeat at Bradford and reported rifts with assistant manager Steve Bould, was put to bed at the expense of bottom side Reading.

"Success came with the quality of our game. We focused on the quality of our game and played," he said.

"Our ambition is to finish as high as we can and win our next game, that is all we can do. We have to focus on the quality of our football."

When pressed on the recent harsh criticism of Arsenal, Wenger added: "It depends on what you mean by a crisis. If you call being slaughtered by everybody then we were in a super-crisis.

"In our job you need to be mentally strong. It is a test when you have been in a position like we were in."

Walcott

Walcott, who is still yet to sign a new deal with Arsenal, was deployed in his favoured central role and Wenger is hopeful an agreement can be reached sooner rather than later.

The Frenchman said: "It is not my decision, it is Theo's decision as well - if it is [only] my decision, it is quickly done.

"Theo has been educated at Southampton and Arsenal, where he has become a top-level player.

"I hope that when he considers his future he will think this is the best place for him and sign for us.

"I will just say our desire and will is clear, and Theo knows that. Hopefully we can get to a happy end with it."

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