Per Mertesacker admits that Arsenal fans would have been ‘shaking their heads’ when the side went two-goals down against Ludogorets, but has backed the team to be ready for Tottenham on Sunday.
Comebacks and mental strength seem to have already become a theme for Arsenal this season, but they can little afford to give Spurs the kind of head start they handed the Bulgarians.
Speaking in the matchday programme, Mertesacker said, “Winning in the way we did in midweek will give us a boost.
“I know that after 20 minutes against Ludogorets, a lot of fans would have been shaking their heads. But these are the situations that you have to overcome.
“For the team, it’s then a question of if we can stay calm, if we can stick to the gameplan, despite it being ruined a bit anyway. It was about trusting each other and not moaning at each other, not having a blame culture.
“These are the challenges you have to overcome during a season, and that’s what I particularly liked about Tuesday night – that we kept going, that we responded positively. It was a test of character for the whole team, but the manner of our comeback was really impressive.
“Playing away from home against a team like Ludogorets is really difficult, especially when things don’t go for you. But everyone just gave a little bit more, with a mentality of ‘right, let’s get back into this’. The boys weren’t arguing, they weren’t blaming each other, they just stepped up.
“Coping with adversity like that was so positive. To go and win the game in that fashion will have given everybody a lift. But it needs to be a lesson for us too.
“We can’t start like that again.”
Per is not expected to return to the Arsenal side until the new year.
He is up and about and doing gym work which is a positive step, but he’s still a long way away from being involved in the matchday squad.