On the performance...
“There was room to win the game, especially when we were 1-0 up with plenty of chances to score a second; we were in control. I feel we were a bit unlucky on the goal we conceded but Middlesbrough played well and worked very hard.

"In the second half they had a good mixture of defending well and getting the pace out of the game, going down and gaining time. That was a bit frustrating but they did it well and in the last 20 minutes they defended very well.”

On Middlesbrough's formation...
“We know everywhere we go we will see the same thing [opposition teams lining up with one striker]. I have seen them against Chelsea and they were not sharp at all, but today they were very sharp and defended every inch of the ground. It is amazing the differences you see with teams.”

On what is missing...
“We tried, I do believe that. In the end we lacked something, we couldn’t take our chances and I must admit I expect ‘Boro to collapse a bit more than they did in the final part. They didn’t give in, even with tired legs and that is credit to them.

“You want always to get more but I feel my team needs more encouragement because they don’t get it anywhere and that is why I want to focus on the next game.”

On the title race...
“The league is wide open but we are in a position that every point we drop we are asked about it. I understand that, but champions are people who never stop and we can show that belief to keep going. We can do that in the next game.

“Of course [it is an enormous task], but we don’t think about that at the moment. We must just believe that the next game is one to reduce the distance between us and Liverpool.”

On showing signs of improvement...
"It is frustrating but that is part of it. Middlesbrough are a team who are capable of beating everybody in this league on their day, and we have to accept that. I believe we are on the way up, comparing how we were at the beginning of the season; then we would have lost a game like this.

"We have a better defensive balance, are more a team but just lack that extra thing that comes with confidence. This is a young team that is under a lot of pressure at the moment and that is why it is important to keep belief."

Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 13 Dec 2008