London - Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger admitted his relief after his team ended a run of three Premier League games without a win by overcoming Sunderland 3-1 at the Emirates Stadium.
Saturday's success was ideal preparation for next week's crucial Champions League trip to Olympiakos, where Arsenal must win by any score other than 1-0 or 2-1 if they are to qualify for the last 16.
And after a disappointing November, when a run of bad results was accompanied by significant injuries to Alexis Sanchez, Santi Cazorla and Francis Coquelin, Wenger is hopeful that it proves a turning point.
"I was more nervous than usual because I know it was a very important day for our season," said the Frenchman. "I knew Sunderland would be very good on counter-attack.
"We came out of three disappointing results and I think it was a very, very important game for us today because of the fact we have not won and because we have lost important players in our side and we had to show we could win.
"We were edgy and nervy in the first half against a well-organised team. But in the second half I think we have shown mental strength and desire, more incisiveness in our game, more fluency.
"It was not perfect, of course, but the team has shown mental strength because we scored an own goal just before half time, but we have recovered to win the game.
"I thought it important to keep our nerve first because if you rush forward, they were dangerous on the counter-attack and we could have conceded a second goal."