Arsene Wenger said his players deserve better support from Arsenal fans after what he described as a “top-class” performance in the win against Everton on Saturday.
Arsenal won 2-0 after first-half goals from Danny Welbeck and Alex Iwobi for their first league victory since beating leaders Leicester in February.
Some Arsenal fans have turned against Wenger during the recent bad spell, which saw the team eliminated from the FA Cup and Champions League, but the Frenchman said supporters need to unite behind the team as they try to maintain a title challenge.
“We are still in it,” Wenger told BT Sport. “In our minds, yes. Mathematically, yes.
“We want everyone to be behind the team and to give us a chance. We are ready for a battle, for a fight, and just continue to put in the quality of performances that we have put in today.”
Despite the win, one fan in the away section held up another banner after the game calling for Wenger to leave, while many chanted for majority owner Stan Kroenke to “get out of our club.”
Several players have also been criticised by fans and pundits in recent weeks, and Wenger said: “I must say honestly that I was very disappointed because the team did not get the support mentally.
“This team is absolutely outstanding. I’ve managed many groups, and this group is top class, so I want them to be rewarded. We have gone through a difficult spell, but I must say during that spell we had a very difficult schedule, and we were not helped.”
Wenger made just one change from the midweek 3-1 loss to Barcelona, with Francis Coquelin restored in place of the injured Mathieu Flamini, while Iwobi given his first league start.
Arsenal looked dangerous throughout the first half, with Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez, Welbeck and Iwobi all combining well in attack.
“It was a continuation of our performance against Barcelona, and today we scored the goals on top of that,” Wenger said. “I believe our performance was top class.
“In the second half our legs went a little bit. I knew that at halftime we needed to be in front. Because all the players had physically put in a 100 percent performance in Barcelona and the second half was a bit more difficult. But again, mentally the team responded.”
Welbeck finished off a well-worked team move by running onto a ball from Sanchez in the area, rounding the goalkeeper and slotting the ball into an open net.
Iwobi then netted his first Arsenal goal to cap a memorable week after chasing down a long through-ball from Hector Bellerin and scoring with a composed finish.
“It’s been a difficult couple of weeks with the results that we’ve had, and It was good today to get back to our winning ways and something we can build on from here,” Welbeck said. “To get the early goal, it was good for us and it set the standard for the rest of the game.”