By Chris Harris

Per Mertesacker believes that Arsenal's hard work on the training pitch paid dividends as they swept to a 3-0 win over Bolton on Saturday.

The Germany defender was part of the back four that conceded four times at Blackburn last week but he earned praise from Arsène Wenger after contributing to a welcome clean sheet against Owen Coyle's side.

Mertesacker says that extra hours at London Colney were the key to Arsenal's defensive improvement.

"We had a little bit more time [during the week] because of the Carling Cup match," he told Arsenal Player.

"Some players had a little more rest and we trained a little harder, especially on the way we want to defend. It worked and on Saturday you saw we had a better defence. We were closer together.

"After the four goals against Blackburn we lost a little bit of confidence but we were very proud of our performance on Saturday. We want to go on with this way of defending.

"I want to do a good job, especially in the defence. That is my role. If the coach praises me then that is a great thing but I have to go on and keep on working. My performances can improve."

The full interview with Per is now available on Arsenal Player.

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 26 Sep 2011