By Chris Harris
The last nine days have been dramatic and instructive for Arsène Wenger.
Arsenal kicked off that period with a battling Premier League win over Stoke but then slumped to defeat in the Carling Cup Final before picking themselves up to beat Leyton Orient 5-0 in the FA Cup.
Like his players, Wenger has been through a rollercoaster of emotions during the journey from Emirates Stadium to Wembley and back again - and he believes his squad has shown they have what it takes to put last Sunday’s setback behind them.
“I have learned a lot because every game teaches you things about your team,” reflected Wenger ahead of the Sunderland game.
“I feel that in the last nine days we have gone through highs and lows and what makes the life of a team and a player is how you resist negative emotions and keep your attitude aligned with your goals.
“You could see on Wednesday night [against Leyton Orient] that this team is mentally very strong and hungry for success and we look forward. We want to grow stronger and stronger. How the team responded to Sunday’s disappointment is remarkable.
“It is [good that we have a run of games]. Three days later we had a game, we won it 5-0 and it looked to me like we played the Carling Cup Final six months ago because now we are just focused on tomorrow’s game.”
The players were at a low ebb as they trooped out of Wembley last weekend and Wenger admits that some of them needed their spirits lifted in the wake of Birmingham’s surprise 2-1 win.
“With some individuals who were a bit more down, yes [I spoke to them]. Overall, not tremendously because we have so many high targets in front of us that the team is highly-focused.
“This team is for me top quality and hungry for success. We promised ourselves to give absolutely everything until the end of the season and that is what we want to do and that is what we will do.”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 4 Mar 2011