Arsenal defender Vermaelen: First half against Olympiakos was a struggle

The Belgian centre-back admits that his team were sloppy in their passing, but praised striker Gervinho after his first-half goal set the Gunners on the way to victory
Arsenal centre-back Thomas Vermaelen admits that the first half of their 3-1 win against Olympiakos was "a struggle", but heralded the importance of taking six points from their opening two Champions League games.

Goals from Gervinho, Lukas Podolski and an injury-time effort from Aaron Ramsey sealed the win for the Gunners, but they went in all-square at half-time following Konstantinos Mitroglou's equaliser in first-half stoppage time.

"Yeah I think in the first half [it was a struggle]," Vermaelen told Sky Sports. "The second half was better, but in the first half we were a little bit sloppy in the passing, we lost a lot of balls. We started well, but the first half was not great."

Vermaelen insisted that the result had nothing to do with dented confidence after last weekend's defeat to Chelsea, and also stated that assistant manager Steve Bould, standing in for suspended boss Arsene Wenger, was not angry, but just explained where the team were going wrong.

He added: "We started well, a high tempo - that was great, but afterwards we dropped a little. I don't think it was because of the weekend but sometimes that can happen.

"[Bould] wasn't angry. It's not always good to be angry. He said things we did wrong, or that we could do better, and in the second half we were a lot better I think. 'Be more cautious on the ball, don't lose too many balls,' that's what [Bould] said."

Vermaelen also heralded the confidence that winning their first two Champions League games brings, and stated that he was happy for Gervinho, who has been in good form so far this season.

He continued: "It gives us a lot of confidence, getting six out of six [points]. That's really important.

"I think the most important thing is to win your home games in the Champions League, and we won an away game at Montpellier so we want to keep it going.

"[Gervinho] is doing great. He had a great pre-season as well. And now you can see in the matches, he's scoring a lot of goals, he's quick, he's quite busy, so I'm happy for him."