(Reuters) - Arsenal’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain said his team had gone back to basics in their 2-1 Premier League win at Middlesbrough on Monday after recent performances that were not good enough.
While Gunners manager Arsene Wenger switched the formation to 3-4-3, with Oxlade-Chamberlain at right wing-back, the England international focussed on the attitude of the players who were heavily criticised after last week’s 3-0 defeat by Crystal Palace.
“What we have done over the last few games has not been good enough, we needed to take responsibility for that and I think we have done that this week between ourselves,” Oxlade-Chamlerlain told reporters.
“We knew it didn’t matter how we won, we had to go out there and get back to basics and that is about making sure our commitment levels are right to play for this football club,” he said after a win that kept sixth-placed Arsenal in touch with the top four.
“It is a massive honour to play for a team like Arsenal, you have got to give 100 percent, week in, week out and maybe that had been slipping the last few weeks and that was the first thing we needed to get right and we did that,” he said.
While Arsenal are seven points behind fourth-placed Manchester City, they do have a game in hand and will be looking to make a push for the last slot for next season’s Champions League.
Manager Arsene Wenger indicated the new system had given the players fresh belief but said it was not necessarily going to be a model for the future.
“It was something new for us, we worked on it this week. I think we adapted really well to it tonight and I think it worked really well for us, especially in the first half,” Oxlade-Chamberlain said.
“I think Middlesbrough came out second half and made it a lot more difficult and they went very direct at the end but all in all it was a new system and we have got the three points with it and that is all that matters,” the 23-year-old said.
“In recent weeks it’s not gone well for us and to see our fans travel all the way up here on a Monday night, it means everything for us, for them to stand by us. It was only right we could get them three points and I would like to thank them.”
Reporting by Simon Evans, editing by Ed Osmond