Laurent Koscielny and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain spoke to Sky Sports after the 2-1 win over Boro this evening.
Here’s what they had to say.
It’s been a tough time for you…
Kos: It was important to take the three points tonight. We were in a bad situation with a lot of defeats and tonight we needed to come back with our quality. It wasn’t perfect, but we tried to fight and play with the ball. It’s good to win, good for the confidence, we know it will come back slowly, but it was important to win tonight.
Was it about ‘stepping up’?
Ox: Yes, of course. What we’ve done in the last few games has not been good enough and we have to take responsibility for that. I think we’ve done that this week between ourselves and we knew it didn’t matter how we won we had to go out there and get back to the basics.
That’s making sure our commitment levels were right to play for this football club. It’s a massive honour to play for a team like Arsenal, and you’ve got to give it 100% week in, week out, and maybe that had been slipping in the last few weeks so that was the first thing we needed to get back to tonight.
We did that and obviously the three points are massive.
How did you find the formation? When did you start working on it?
Ox: It was something new for us, we worked on it this week, and it was new for a lot of us but I think we adapted really well to it, especially in the first half. Middlesbrough came out second half and made it a lot more difficult, they went more direct, but all in all it was a new system, we got the three points with it and that’s all that matters.
Was it different for you Laurent, playing in the middle of a three?
Kos: Yes, like Chambo said for a lot of players it was the first time we played with 3-4-3 and it was very different, but we have the experience and intelligence. Second half was harder because they played with a lot of pressure up front and with the long ball but we are happy to the result, and with the system.
Did you do the nasty things better tonight?
Ox: Yeah, especially at the end. They sent a lot of long balls forward and we had to just defend. It was a proper defensive performance at the end, and there were times we got opened up a little bit, but I think we all recovered as well as we could, and other than the goal I think the boys defended really well.
I just want to say one more thing. We know it hasn’t gone well the last few weeks but to see all our fans travel all the way up here on a Monday night, it means everything for us, for them to stick by us. It was only right we got them three points, so we’d like to thank them.
Did you feel like you didn’t deserve the support?
Ox: Look, it’s a massive club and as players you know you’ve got so many fans behind you, but to see them come back after being so disappointed – as we have – to see them come up here and support us through a tough time means everything.
We have to keep fighting for them.