By Declan Taylor

Manuel Almunia believes that Arsenal must draw upon their character of old to make up lost ground in this season’s title race.

Almunia, who kept his second Premier League clean sheet of the month in Sunday’s 1-0 win over Portsmouth, admits that the Gunners have not been firing on all cylinders this term. However, the Spaniard thinks that the shoots of improvement are there for all to see.

Arsène Wenger’s side trail leaders Liverpool by 10 points, three less than the margin overcame to win the title 11 seasons ago. Almunia is sure that the current side can emulate the class of 1998 and resurrect their Premier League challenge.

“We aren’t in a very good position now and the main thing is for us to find our identity and the character that brought all the titles and trophies to this Club,” said the 31-year-old. “Once we find it we can talk about bigger things. The main thing now is to get three points every single game and wait and see what we can do in this league.

“[Our form] is better, it has been different and we are improving our behaviour on the pitch. We have shown good character but I think we can still give a bit more to find the real Arsenal.

“We are coming back slowly and we have better character and better spirit but there is a still a long way to go.”

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30 Dec 2008