By Joe Brewin

Thomas Vermaelen says that the spirit in the Arsenal dressing room at half time inspired them to victory against Udinese on Wednesday night.

The Gunners trailed by a goal at the break but rallied in the second period with goals from Robin van Persie and Theo Walcott, to sail through to the Champions League Group Stage.

“Everybody was alive, and everybody said we needed to stay positive,” Vermaelen said. “We knew that being 1-0 down was nothing - we only needed to score one goal and then they had to score two. We had that mentality in the second-half.”

Vermaelen says the team were also helped by the presence of manager Arsène Wenger, who was allowed on the touchline after having his two-match ban put on hold by UEFA.

“It’s always good that the boss is there to give us some directions and keep the mood positive at half-time,” said the Belgian centre-back.

Vermaelen admitted that the team’s comeback was the perfect tonic for last weekend’s defeat to Liverpool, ahead of a tough trip to Old Trafford on Sunday.

“We were 1-0 down playing away from home, and to get through is a really positive thing.

“I think we are positive of course. After the Liverpool game we needed a boost, and now we can take confidence to Old Trafford.

“But it’s too early to talk about the title, we are only two games in,” he added. “It’s a long, long way to the end of the season. I don’t think we should talk about that yet.”

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25 Aug 2011