Arsene Wenger claimed his side passed “a mental test” in the 2-0 win over Everton and refused to accept the title race was a two-horse race.
The Gunners rediscovered their form as they found themselves 2-0 up at half-time through some slick, fluent passing and even though Everton fought back in the second half the visitors restricted the hosts to very few chances to record a long-overdue victory.
First-half goals from Danny Welbeck and teenager Alex Iwobi were enough for a first Premier League victory in a month which came as a welcome relief after exits from the FA Cup and Champions League in the same week.
Asked whether Arsenal, who are eight points behind leaders Leicester, were still in the title race, Wenger said: “We are still in it in our minds and mathematically, yes, and we want everyone to be behind the team to give us a chance. We are ready for a battle.
“Why should it be a two-horse race with one team three points in front of us? Let’s focus on performances and after that we will see how we finish.
“It was a very significant win for us and a mental test. We continued the level of performance against Barcelona. I like this group, I like the mental attitude, it has been questioned and it hurts me. When you work every day with them you see how much effort they put in.
“I am not masochistic enough to consider us out. Mathematically we have a chance and a game in hand at home.
“We are not the flavour of the week but if we don’t believe, no one will do it for us.
“Even if the mind is sceptical, we have to give our best in every single game. We have to be humble and fight in every game like we did today then we never know.
“Of course we need some performances and some good results from the others. We cannot help that.”
Wenger was impressed with 19-year-old Iwobi, the nephew of former Premier League star Jay-Jay Okocha, who opened his account for the club with a coolly-taken goal.
“He is an intelligent boy who loves football, is very passionate about the game, keen to learn and very humble as well,” added the Gunners boss.
“He is 19 years old and has been at our club since the age of eight.
“I took him in pre-season and I liked what he did. After that he improved very quickly. He did very well. I integrated him and played him.”