Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger felt Saturday’s 3-1 victory over Sunderland at the Emirates Stadium represented a “very, very important win” after a difficult few weeks for the club.
Wenger’s men ended a run of three Premier League games without victory despite a below-par display against Sam Allardyce’s side in North London.
Joel Campbell, Olivier Giroud and Aaron Ramsey were all on target to ensure Giroud’s own-goal mattered little as Arsenal moved second in the absence of Alexis Sanchez and Santi Cazorla.
The pair joined Arsenal’s lengthy injury list during the 1-1 draw at Norwich City and Wenger was delighted with his players’ mental strength.
“I thought it was a very, very important win for us because we came out of three disappointing results. Although we lost only one game [in that run], it was very important for us today psychologically,” he said.
“For the fact we had not won and lost important players in our side in the last two weeks, we had to show we could win. We were edgy, nervy in the first half against a well-organised team who were very impressive on the counter.
“But in the second half we showed mental strength, desire, incisiveness and fluency in our game. It was not perfect of course but the team showed mental strength.
“We scored an own-goal before half-time – the worst thing that can happen – but still managed to win.”
Wenger was angered by the award of the free-kick that led to Giroud’s own-goal – confronting the fourth official despite Laurent Koscielny clearly fouling Duncan Watmore.
“I was more nervous than usual today because I knew it was an important game in our season,” added Wenger, who confirmed his side had not picked up any further injuries.
“I knew Sunderland would be very good on the day at counter-attacks and free-kicks so we played to not give many free-kicks away.
“They played to get free-kicks and they did that well. I’ve been told since that I was wrong [about the free-kick] so I accept it. “