Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka has insisted that ‘hard work’ behind the scenes has been key to their return to form this season.

The Gunners struggled at the beginning of the campaign, with several defeats and disappointing performances putting the pressure firmly on Mikel Arteta.

Things have turned around in the last few months, though, with only three defeats in the league since September.

That, coupled with four straight wins since defeat to Everton at the beginning of December, has left them sitting fourth in the table at this moment in time and firmly in the race for Champions League football.

Things are far more positive at the club than they once were, and Xhaka insists it’s a result of the work off the pitch.

“There is hard work behind it,” he told Keystone-SDA news agency via Nau.

“I am not surprised; we are training excellently. We’ve grown as a team and are winning the close games again.”

Such is the positivity around Arsenal at this moment in time; even players such as Xhaka are currently in favour.

The midfielder was enemy number one at one point after a public clash with the fans put him very much against them.

It had appeared he would be on his way out of the Emirates, but things have been turned around under Mikel Arteta, who has worked to rebuild the midfielder’s relationship with the club and fans.

That’s something he’s succeeded in, and Xhaka insists in reality, he only cares about the opinion of his manager and teammates.

“There are people everywhere who like you – or not,” he added.

“That was the case in Germany and Switzerland, and it’s no different in England. I will never pretend about it.

“In the end, it’s always decisive whether the coach, the team and the immediate environment are happy with me.”