QPR 1 Arsenal 2: Arsene Wenger praises 'mental strength' of strikers Alexis Sanchez and Olivier Giroud in win over QPR

Both forwards got on the scoresheet

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The Independent Online

Alexis Sanchez and Olivier Giroud have the "mental strength" to spearhead Arsenal's charge for Champions League qualification, according to Arsene Wenger.

Chile striker Sanchez claimed his first goal in eight games while Giroud further erased memories of his Monaco nightmare as Arsenal eased past QPR 2-1 at Loftus Road.

Arsenal boss Wenger believes heavy criticism of Giroud's profligate showing in 3-1 Champions League home defeat to Monaco "was a bit harsh".

He hailed Sanchez as a striker who "never gives up" and backed Giroud to keep shrugging off whatever setbacks come his way.

"It's good because when you don't score for seven or eight games it is on your mind even if you say it's not," said Wenger of Sanchez's neat finish.

"But he took his chance well and he's tricky and has a short back-lift and scored a good goal.

"He never gives up and that's the strength of a good striker as well.

"He's resilient and he showed that he has the mental strength to respond.

"Olivier (Giroud) has that mental strength as well, he's strong mentally too.

 

"He can take criticism and respond, and he's shown that.

"I feel that was a bit harsh on him because he missed some chances but that can happen.

"We were all down after the Monaco game, but we responded well against Everton, and the confidence we got against Everton paid off tonight."

Wenger confirmed Spanish defender Gabriel came off in the first-half with hamstring trouble.

He admitted he is unsure whether his side face an easier Barclays Premier League run in than their top-four rivals.

Arsenal maintained third spot on Wednesday, but were unable to steal a march with the rest of the top four also victorious.

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Wenger admitted Arsenal were "nervous" in the first-half, and frustrated to turn around with the game goalless.

Charlie Austin fired a late goal for the hosts, but the Gunners were able to hold out for their 10th victory in 12 games.

"It's hot up there, yes, because everybody won tonight," said Wenger.

"We can only focus on our performances and keep going.

"We have 10 games to go, six at home four away, so we can only keep going.

"I haven't studied the other teams' games, but until mid-April there are five or so teams fighting not to go down and the same fighting to get into Europe.

"Whether the other teams have easier games I don't know.

"We were nervous in the first-half I felt, and they competed physically.

"They stopped us playing all over the pitch and Sandro played a big part in that."

Head coach Chris Ramsey admitted it is "imperative" QPR keep pace with their relegation rivals, after losing ground on Aston Villa across the midweek fixtures.

Rangers host Tottenham at Loftus Road on Saturday, with boss Ramsey admitting his side can ill afford a fourth consecutive home loss.

"The last thing we want to do is start getting detached," said Ramsey.

"So it's imperative that doesn't happen.

"Everything is in cup-final mode now.

"We wouldn't want that because that in itself creates anxiety and doesn't allow you to play in a smooth way.

"When I embarked on this situation I didn't think it was going to be a walk in the park.

"The players themselves know they have an obligation to the fans and to the owners to put in performances for the next few games."

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