Arsene Wenger has warned Arsenal to expect a footballing test when 'miracle-worker' Mick McCarthy brings his battling Wolverhampton Wanderers side to the Emirates Stadium tomorrow.
While the Gunners have their sights set firmly on the top four after bouncing back from the 1-0 defeat at Manchester City with an away win at Aston Villa, Wolves are scrapping for every point to stay clear of being dragged into a relegation battle.
Wenger, however, has the utmost respect for the job McCarthy is overseeing at the club. "Mick McCarthy is doing miracles at Wolves," Wenger said in his programme notes for tomorrow's match.
"He is always ready for a fight, never gives up, keeps his steadiness and mental strength, never shows any strain. It is great what he does for his club. I believe they play extremely good football as well."
"It demands special strength from the manager to fight until the last day with the uncertainty sometimes whether you will stay up," the Arsenal manager added. "A manager needs to be cool-blooded, strong, resilient and Mick McCarthy has all of these qualities."
Arsenal have won eight of their last ten league games to turn the season around and close to within striking distance of the top four. The Gunners produced another impressive display to secure all three points at Villa Park last Wednesday night, with Yossi Benayoun coming off the bench to head a late winner.
The Israeli midfielder, on loan from Chelsea, has yet to start in the Premier League this season, but Wenger believes a collective team ethic runs deep within the current group. "[The Aston Villa result] showed the importance of the squad, but also the quality of the spirit," Wenger told Arsenal Player.
"That makes a difference if you have players who come on that have a real desire to help the team. You always have a chance because teams have to fight so hard against us that in the last 20 minutes fresh players can have a big impact."