By Richard Clarke

Robin van Persie claims Arsenal are clawing back their confidence.

Arsène Wenger’s side left it late on Saturday against Bolton but Nicklas Bendtner’s 84th-minute winner meant the Emirates Stadium side ended the weekend having closed the gap on leaders Liverpool to eight points. It has also extended Arsenal’s unbeaten run to seven games.

“I am really happy because if you look at the game, Bolton played a bit more defensively than normal,” said Van Persie. “But we stayed focused and stayed calm.

“I think the confidence is coming back now because we lost points earlier in the season that were not so clever. I think we will learn from that. This is what the boss said at half time - stay confident, stay focused and you will get your goal. This is what happened. It was a combination of fitness and confidence really.

“Before that we were a bit unlucky. They stayed behind the ball with 10 men. This is what we knew [would happen] and the only way to break them is to score. You could see after the goal, they were finished. They were tired suddenly and passes weren’t coming through.

“It’s not the most positive way of playing football. I know they had lots of injuries as well - they just brought 15 players to the Emirates. It was not a proper game of football but they had their reasons for that.”

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12 Jan 2009