David Ospina insists Arsenal’s Champions League shock at the hands of Monaco is now behind them ahead of their visit to struggling QPR on Wednesday.
Arsene Wenger’s side responded positively to their devastating 3-1 Champions League last 16 first leg defeat against Monaco by beating Everton 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.
The victory helped draw a line under a loss that means the Gunners go into the second leg tie in Monaco knowing their prospects of reaching the quarter-finals are slim.
Instead, Arsenal’s best prospects of success this season now lies in ensuring they achieve a top four finish in the Premier League and advance in the FA Cup.
Manchester City’s weekend defeat at Liverpool means Wenger’s men have progressed to within four points of Manuel Pellegrini’s second-placed side and will maintain the pressure on the champions if they can claim three points at Loftus Road.
Chris Ramsey’s side are battling for their Premier League survival and Arsenal will start clear favourites when they return to north London having secured a seventh win in eight league games.
Ospina, the Gunners goalkeeper, is confident Arsenal’s shaken belief has been restored by the win over Everton and they can now look forward to the closing weeks of the season.
“We were not nervous, we were sad after the Monaco result but in football you have to pick yourselves up quickly,” he said.
“Obviously it was a tough night but you have always got to bounce back and Everton was a great way to show that we had done that.
“After what happened against Monaco, the only thing that was important was to win the big game to continue increasing our confidence and keeping heading up the table.
“Now we are already thinking about the next one, which is QPR.”
The prospect of challenging City for second place is another incentive but Ospina insists nobody at the Emirates Stadium is looking too far ahead.
“We know we are close to them now but we need to concentrate on ourselves and not think about them. We will keep doing our job, picking up points and then see what happens,” he added.
QPR lie fourth bottom, separated from the relegation places only by goal difference and must improve on a disastrous run of form that has brought just one win in their last nine league games.
Their last outing ended in defeat at fellow strugglers Hull with Joey Barton sent off, ensuring the midfielder will be suspended against Arsenal.
Barton’s actions drew criticism from teammate Charlie Austin and Ramsey will hope his decision to take advantage of a free weekend and take his squad away on a five-day training camp in Dubai has rejuvenated and united his under-performing squad.
Director of football Les Ferdinand said: “It’s been a vitally important trip for us, especially with what lies ahead between now and the end of the season.
“Chris has only been in charge a short time, so this week away has given him and the other coaches an ideal opportunity to work with the team.
“He has come in and is putting his stamp on things. He’s implementing his ideas and the lads are buying into it. There’s been a great response from the players.”
Of the pitch, QPR could at least point to some good news after this week announcing the losses incurred during last season in the Championship were unexpectedly low at £9.8 million.
But there is a real risk Ramsey’s side could be making an immediate return to the second tier unless the new manager, installed following the departure of Harry Redknapp after the January transfer window, can turn things around.
“We’ve got a dozen games left and we know what we’ve got to do,” Ferdinand added.
Photo Credits : AFP