Arsenal revived their hopes of playing in European competition next season with a 3-1 win at Leicester City in an entertaining Premier League clash on Monday (NZ time).
The result lifted Arsenal two places up to ninth on 37 points from 26 games, while Leicester stayed third on 49 points, after suffering a second setback in three days following their Europa League elimination.
Arsenal fell behind at Leicester to an early Youri Tielemans goal but stormed back through David Luiz, Alexandre Lacazette and Nicolas Pepe, with Braziian midfielder Willian also putting in a superb individual performance.
"I am really proud of the team and the character that we showed," Arteta told BT Sport.
"A disappointing start again as we conceded an early goal but we looked composed and overall I think we deserved to win.
"The senior players are the ones who have to drive the boat forward and the young players can add something, but it can't be the other way around. They have to take that leadership and be accountable when they are in the team."
With a top-six finish in the Premier League back in sight, Arteta urged his team to push on after making six changes to the side that beat Benfica and stressed squad rotation was aimed at rewarding the players for their hard work.
"You can use any words to motivate players but at the end of the day you have to be in the field and I am so pleased that even though we made a lot of changes we were able to produce this result," he said.
"It's not that we have to rotate. I want to rotate because I want to give that chance to the players, they deserve it for how they turn up every day."
Arteta also singled out Pepe, who was a menace all afternoon, saying ninth-placed Arsenal still needed to meet their high standards in the league.
"Nicolas Pepe has been really consistent and this is what we want from him," the Spaniard told the BBC.
"It's unacceptable the position we are in. We have to improve this dramatically and the only way we can do that is to win games."
In other action, Gareth Bale produced his most impressive performance since returning on loan to Tottenham Hotspur with two goals in his side's 4-0 win over Burnley.
The Welshman continued his recent resurgence by marking only his third league start of the season with the opening goal after only two minutes, prodding in from close range.
He then set up Harry Kane for Tottenham's second after 15 minutes before Lucas Moura made it 3-0 before halftime.
Bale then claimed his second of the game with a clinical finish after 55 minutes as Tottenham returned to form in the league having lost five of their previous six games.
The impressive win left Tottenham in eighth spot with 39 points from 25 games and revived their hopes of finishing in the top four.
Chelsea missed a chance to regain their place in the Premier League's top four, as they largely dominated second-placed Manchester United but had to be content with a drab 0-0 draw at Stamford Bridge.
The home side carved out the best chances but United, who had a decent first-half penalty appeal turned down, defended solidly throughout to earn a point.
Liverpool were too strong for Sheffield United, clinching a 2-0 win courtesy of goals to Curtis Jones and Kean Bryan.