On the side he picked for the game…
It’s not necessarily down to the players, I decided from the start when I saw the fixtures that I needed to rotate. You can do four or five in one game and four or five in the other game but I decided to go with the whole lot in one game and come back with the whole lot in the third game.

On matching Birmingham physically…
We were prepared mentally today to face physical challenges and we prepared ourselves not to lose our game and be calm, intelligent and especially to have the focus to put the ball down and play our game. We had chances in the first half and in the second half we had an outstanding game.

On Lee Bowyer’s challenge on Bacary Sagna
I don’t want to talk too much about that because I haven’t seen a replay yet. I don’t want to keep that in my mind tonight because what’s more important is the way we want to play football. I am convinced this win today will strengthen the belief of the squad.

On taking confidence into the Manchester City game…
It is a big game. We have known since the start of December that the games at home against the big sides will have a big impact on the league. We started well with Chelsea and I think that win lifted the team and we can go into the Manchester City game with confidence.

On facing their rivals at Emirates Stadium…
We have played 20 games, with 11 away and nine at home. We have a good opportunity to take advantage of the number of games we have to play at home, especially against the big teams.

On the importance of away victories…
A draw away is not a good enough, especially if you look at the results of the other teams today. Every time when you play away from home you think a point is a disaster because you lose ground and you cannot afford to because there are so many teams fighting. You do not want to get behind.

On the criticism of his rotation policy over the festive period…
In fairness, I am used to criticism! I can understand that I was critisied but I think what is important is that I am paid to make decisions. Strong decisions are better than half decisions. I took a decision and it nearly worked, we were a little bit unlucky. I could have played the same team three times and lost at Wigan and tonight. I consider that we dropped two points at Wigan but you can also say that Manchester United dropped two points at St Andrew’s. Over the festive period we were the team with less recovery time than any team and the team who played, along with Manchester United, twice away from home.

The psychological impact of the wins over Chelsea and Birmingham…
We are in a race where every game becomes important. You cannot choose your games. We have learnt two things since the start of the season: the most consistent team will win it and you can drop points anywhere. West Brom, who are in the second half of the table, play outstanding football and that has changed in the Premier League.

On whether Birmingham were unlucky…
I cannot say objectively that Birmingham were unlucky to lose the game because if you look at the number of chances we had, we deserved to win.

On coping with Birmingham’s physicality…
We needed to be resilient without losing our nerves. I give great credit to my players for doing that because they kept calm, intelligent and never let nerves come out in their game. I am very proud of my team today.

On a pleasing clean sheet…
We needed that because we are questioned so much about that.

On Robin van Persie’s first league goal of the season…
He is an exceptional player but when you play up front you want to score goals. Fortunately, he got one today.

On Samir Nasri’s improvement this campaign…
He played too deep before and he goes much more in the final third. I could see in training last year that he has that ability.

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 1 Jan 2011