DEFENDER Laurent Koscielny believes Barclays Premier League leaders Arsenal have now developed the mental toughness needed to work their way to the title if necessary.
Arsenal go into FA Cup fourth-round weekend a point ahead of Manchester City and two clear of Chelsea following their 2-0 win over Fulham.
Much as they had done with the victory over Cardiff on New Year's Day, Arsene Wenger's men eventually wore down the Cottagers before finally making a breakthrough just before the hour.
Koscielny admits Arsenal cannot always be at their high-tempo, quick-passing best, but insists they have found a way to dig in and get the required result.
"We can't play 100 per cent all the time in the way we play, so there will be some moments in some games where we lack quality, where it will be more difficult, where it won't be pretty football, but we stay strong, we graft and we never give up," Koscielny said.
The France international continued: "Mentally we are stronger than ever. We have won some games this season that we would never have won last season.
"It (the spirit) was always there, but more perhaps towards the end of the season.
"We can feel this season there is something special in the squad. We have all understood that we can achieve something together."
Koscielny, who has developed a strong partnership at the heart of the Arsenal defence alongside Per Mertesacker, feels the "pressure is on" rivals City and Chelsea to deliver the championship because of their massive spending.
However, the 28-year-old is confident Arsenal can compensate with a strong team ethic.
"We are where we want to be," he said. "It is down to us to stay there, stay focused and stay united."