Arsène Wenger praised his Arsenal side’s dogged second-half display after they secured a “massive victory” against Sunderland on Saturday.

Wenger’s men had dominated the first half at the Stadium of Light, and led at the break through Santi Cazorla’s ninth league goal of the season.

They were forced to dig in after the break though, with stubborn defending and a string of fine saves by Wojciech Szczesny ensuring victory after Carl Jenkinson had been sent off.

“It’s a massive victory for us today,” Wenger told Arsenal Player. “I’m pleased with the three points, but with the way we played as well.

“We had moments of brilliance today. When we needed to defend, we could see that we were up for it. We did fight, we did play, and we got the three points.

“The only negative point of today’s game is that we got a player sent off. We didn’t take our chances. We could have scored six or seven. Apart from that, it was a fantastic game.

“Our character was questioned many times. You have seen today that we have plenty. I liked the last 20 minutes where we were pushed back. We headed every single ball. We tried like mad and that’s fantastic to see.

“Sometimes you have to just dig in and some players played in uncomfortable positions. When we have the desire to win, it helps a lot.”

Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source Nik Brumsack 11 Feb 2013