Arsène Wenger has hailed his side’s mental strength after their backs-to-the-wall victory at West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.

Arsenal were forced to play the last 20 minutes with 10 men after Per Mertesacker was shown a straight red card for a professional foul on Shane Long.

James Morrison converted the resulting penalty but Wenger’s team withstood heavy pressure to claim a vital three points in the race for a top-four place.

I'm very happy and proud of the players because we have shown different aspects that are in the team at the moment

Arsène Wenger

“It was a difficult game,” the boss told Arsenal Player. “We knew it before, against a good West Brom side who were up for it.

“I'm very happy and proud of the players because we have shown different aspects that are in the team at the moment - fantastic technical quality for 65 or 70 minutes, and then, when we had our backs to the ball, resolute attitude and battling qualities. We got three important points with that.

“We should maybe have scored one or two more [before the red card], but in the Premier League the games are never over. West Brom had a fantastic attitude and we needed to be especially strong in the last 20 minutes, physically and mentally.”

With Tottenham Hotspur dropping points at home to Everton on Sunday, Arsenal are now just two points behind their north London rivals with a game in hand, though Wenger maintains his side are only focusing on themselves.

“The most important thing is for us to win our games,” he said. “Then you don't need to calculate too much.

“We can look at their games and think that we have done our job today. Let's do it again next week and then we see where we stand. We want to do it and if we keep these qualities, we will do it.”

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 Nik Brumsack 8 Apr 2013