On picking up three much-needed points…
“Yes it was a big three points for us because we gave a lot physically but in the end only got a disappointing point at Villa. It was important to get the three points today because recently, no matter what we do, we are always reading bad headlines. It is important for the belief of our team to come away with three points today.

On his side’s performance…
“We were intelligent, mature and we didn’t make mistakes. In the end we won the game against a Portsmouth side who defended very deep and very well. I believe that, in the end, it was difficult to create chances but we had one or two good chances that got us the win.”

On William Gallas’ happy knack of scoring important goals…
“He can turn up on a set-piece and get goals. He started as a striker and he looks the most likely to score from set-pieces because he has the timing of the run and you cannot give that; you either have it or you don’t. He has good timing to attack the ball.

On Gallas’ future at Emirates Stadium…

“First of all we don’t want to sell anybody and secondly I think that he answers everybody by the quality of his performances on the pitch. That is what you want to do when you are a great player.”

On the importance of getting back into the top four…
“You could see again today with Chelsea drawing at Fulham that it is difficult for everybody. I believe everybody will drop points now at the beginning of the year. The other three will play against each other so for us we just need to be consistent.

On six games without defeat…
“It would be a long way but now we just have to reduce the gap before we speak about the championship. In the last six games we have won three and draw three and out of the three draws we were leading in every single game, against Liverpool, Middlesbrough and Villa, and the teams won’t always come back to us. It is important that we keep going as we go. The team is maturing quickly and has shown great mental strength in the last six weeks.”

On the contribution of the crowd...
"I feel the crowd was good today. They gave a warm welcome to Tony Adams and then moved behind the team. Sometimes they got a bit frustrated but overall they were very positive and understood it was a very difficult game for us."

On Robin van Persie's absence...
"I took the decision not to start him because he was on the edge because he gave absolutely everything on Friday. I didn’t want to take a gamble to bring him on because in cold weather like that he would need a long warm-up and I believe it would not have been alright."

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 28 Dec 2008