Arsene Wenger admitted his Arsenal side are still rank outsiders for the Premier League title despite maintaining their challenge with a 1-0 win over Portsmouth.
An 82nd minute goal from William Gallas was enough for the Gunners to stay within ten points of leaders Liverpool and to keep their slim title hopes alive.
The three-point haul also moved the north London club back above an inactive Aston Villa into fourth place in the table.
"It would be a long way but now we just have to reduce the gap before we speak about the championship," said the Frenchman.
"In the last six games we have won three and draw three and out of the three draws we were leading in every single game, against Liverpool, Middlesbrough and Villa, and the teams won't always come back to us.
"It is important that we keep going as we go. The team is maturing quickly and has shown great mental strength in the last six weeks.
"In the end we won the game against a Portsmouth side who defended very deep and very well. I believe that, in the end, it was difficult to create chances, but we had one or two good chances that got us the win."
Meanwhile, Wenger restated his desire to keep former captain Gallas at the Emirates Stadium in January.
The future of the France defender remains the subject of much speculation after he was stripped of the captaincy last month following a verbal outburst at his team-mates.
"First of all we don't want to sell anybody and secondly I think that he answers everybody by the quality of his performances on the pitch," added Wenger.
"That is what you want to do when you are a great player."