Arsene Wenger expressed relief after Arsenal’s victory over QPR put a stop to two consecutive defeats and saw the return of Jack Wilshere after 15 months out injured.
Shortly after Stephane M’Bia’s dismissal for the away side, Mikel Arteta tapped in the winning goal six minutes from time following the latest in a string of impressive saves by Julio Cesar to parry Olivier Giroud’s header.
Wenger admits he was cautious of a confidence-bereft Arsenal side following defeats to Norwich and Schalke in the past seven days, and praised his players for coming out top in a tight game.
“When you lose two games of course the confidence goes quickly and for us today the most important thing was to win the game,” Wenger told reporters.
“It was a fight against a good QPR side and a fight against the nerves as well - you could see that the confidence was not completely there.
“It was important not to make mistakes and to take one of our chances. That’s what happened and it became easier when M’Bia was sent off.
“They had a great goalkeeper today. We are used to that, many goalkeepers play very well against us and we missed some chances but QPR are a good team and they will not stay bottom of the league.”
The game marked Jack Wilshere’s first competitive action for the Gunners since May 2011, who completed 67 minutes before being replaced by Theo Walcott, with Wenger complimentary about the youngster’s display.
The manager was less positive on a suspected ankle injury sustained by Gervinho just 10 minutes after his introduction as a second-half substitute.
“If you consider [Wilshere] was out for 17 months it was quite positive. Of course he lacks rhythm at that level but he will get that now.
“How damaged the ankle is we’ll have to wait 24 hours before we know more but it doesn’t look too good [for Gervinho].”