Arsene Wenger says the last nine games of the Premier League will help him analyse the season and determine his summer recruitment policy.
Arsenal are fighting for a top-four finish - and the Champions League football that would bring - but face stiff competition from Chelsea, Tottenham and Everton.
Wenger threw down the gauntlet to his players ahead of Saturday's game against Reading, challenging them to prove during the run-in that they deserve their place in the squad.
"We have five players for the England national team and 22 international players. So we have to analyse. What will decide our attitude, my attitude, is how we do now until the end of the season"
"Yes [it is a challenge for them]," said the manager. "We have five players for the England national team and 22 international players. So we have to analyse. What will decide our attitude, my attitude, is how we do now until the end of the season.
"A lot of people speak about that [transfers] but we are not especially after anybody. What is important is we look at how we finish the season, how well we play and make the decisions who to buy and who to sell at the end of the season. This will be influenced by the way we play in our last nine games."
Arsenal find themselves in a similar position to last season with a top-four finish - but no more - within their grasp. Wenger has seen positive signs but as ever he wants more.
"What is for sure is that we didn't fight for the championship," he said. "For the rest it is quite close. And honestly Man United ran away with itbut no one understands why and how.
"What is for sure is that we have had some blips that were not expected. Blackburn and Bradford. But overall I must say the attitude of the team has been great and when everyone is here we have a strong team.
"They have gone through difficult times and have responded well and they have shown the mental strength as we lost against Blackburn, Bayern and Tottenham.
"They could have been scared that the group would implode. But we have shown a strong response against Bayern and Swansea and that shows that the group is mentally strong."
Copyright 2022 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.