Boss’ half-time speech inspired Gunners to win at Emirates Stadium.
Theo Walcott has revealed “a kick up the backside” from boss Arsene Wenger inspired Arsenal to Tuesday’s 4-1 victory rover Wigan.
The win lifted the Gunners into fourth place and ensures they will qualify for next season’s Champions League if they beat Newcastle at St James’ Park in Sunday’s season finale.
But with the score at 1-1, Arsenal were in danger of handing the initiative to north London rivals Tottenham before a spirited second half performance sealed the three pioints and condemned Wigan to relegation.
Winger Walcott, who scored Arsenal’s second on the night, has revealed that Wenger’s words were a factor in motivating the players after the break.
“It’s great that the manager has that passion and it got a bit more out of the players,” Walcott is quoted as saying by the Sport Review.
“We all knew how big it was [to win against Wigan], not just for the manager, the fans, the players and the club itself.
“It’s massive to be in the Champions League. It’s in our hands. The manager gave us a kick up the backside. I felt we did show some good play in the first half but we didn’t manage to take our chances. Thankfully we did in the second.
“When it was half time, we had 45 minutes. We didn’t have to panic. We had plenty of time left. We just had to keep making the right decisions and not force it.
“That’s the important thing. We know when to play at the right times and when to commit bodies forward and I think we got that balance right. We need to make sure we do it on Sunday as well.”
Lukas Podolski scored twice for Arsenal, with Aaron Ramsey also on the scoresheet. Shaun Maloney had equalised for the Latics with a fine free-kick on the stroke of half-time.