Nigel Winterburn is no stranger to success having lifted three Premier League titles and two FA Cups during an illustrious 13-year career at Arsenal, but the former full-back has still been hugely impressed with the club's recent revival.
Arsene Wenger's side have won seven consecutive games in the league for the first time since October 2007, to re-establish their place in the race for Champions League qualification, and now sit proudly in third place in the table.
Having opened up a three point lead over north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur in fourth, the Gunners also lie eight points ahead of Chelsea and Newcastle in fifth and sixth place, and Winterburn suggests that the key to the players' resurgence is built entirely around confidence.
"Confidence plays a big part when you are on a good run of form," he told Arsenal.com. "You just never think you are going to lose, even when you go a goal behind.
"You always have the belief that you will come back and that the minimum you will get is a draw.
"I think it is sometimes hard for the supporters to understand how big a part confidence plays in a player. You need great mental strength as well and I think the team has showed that."
A 3-0 victory over Aston Villa at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday has maintained the feel-good factor currently circulating, after the disappointment of quick exits from Europe and the FA Cup, risked putting a dampener on Arsenal's season.
"After AC Milan the players were low and they would have had to dig deep because they had some severe criticism," Winterburn continued. "But recently they have shown great desire to get back into that top four and put a run of results together.
"Some supporters were angry earlier in the season because they want this great club to be challenging for trophies. But now the team is on a terrific run and what they need to do now is keep that going until the end of the season, make sure Champions League football is secured and then get ready to challenge next season."
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