Kieran Gibbs believes Arsenal passed a major test of character in securing a top-four finish in the Premier League.
Arsène Wenger’s side were written off by many observers following their north London derby defeat to Tottenham Hotspur at the start of March.
However, a superb run of eight wins and two draws in their final 10 games saw Arsenal edge out their rivals to seal a Champions League qualifying place.
We would have liked to have had a better season but overall you have to be happy with the way the team got back together after December
“It was a test of the character that we have [passed] throughout the season really and in the end I think we deserved the win,” Gibbs said.
“It’s massive to finish in the top four. We have done it for however many seasons on the bounce but we haven’t actually properly qualified yet because we still have to play the play-off game.
“We would have liked to have had a better season but overall you have to be happy with the way the team got back together after December. We showed real character, yet again, to come back and finish where we want to be.”
Having finished the campaign so strongly, Gibbs believes the quality and confidence is in place to challenge for the Premier League title next season.
“Having been more involved this season, this is the strongest I have felt about the team,” he said. “I believe strongly in this team now.
“You have seen the quality throughout the season. We haven’t shown it consistently enough in the cups and the Premier League but you have seen many glimpses of what the team is capable of.
“We have played against the best and performed. Next season we have to focus on every detail and be professional in every single way so we give ourselves the best chance to produce something because we are desperate to get a trophy under our belts.”Copyright 2013 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 20 May 2013