Arsene Wenger may be pleased Arsenal start 2012 in the top four of the Barclays Premier League but he insists the team never lost their self-belief as they prepare for tomorrow's game against Fulham.
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 Wenger insists his players never lost belief.
"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."