Arsene Wenger hailed his team's "mental strength" and "personality" after Arsenal came from behind to beat Everton at the Emirates Stadium.
The Gunners were forced into a reshuffled back four because of injuries to captain William Gallas and Bacary Sagna, which saw a debut for former Manchester United defender Mikael Silvestre - and despite falling behind inside nine minutes recovered to record a 3-1 victory.
"We showed personality and mental strength - and that will be important for the rest of the season," said Wenger. "I was not nervous at half-time because I had confidence and belief we would change the game."
Leon Osman put the visitors ahead before the Gunners were forced into another change when Kolo Toure was replaced because of a shoulder problem, with England winger Theo Walcott coming off the bench to help inspire the home side.
Samir Nasri drew the Gunners level before Robin van Persie - who on another day could have bagged himself a hat-trick - nodded in from close range.
Walcott drilled home an angled effort in stoppage time to give the bruised Gunners renewed confidence for more stern challenges over the next seven months.
"Everton had a good start, but in the last 20 minutes of the first half we were on top," he added.
"Theo came on and did very well, he had impact in the game, but the whole team played very well and it was a good test for the team.
"We played our season. We could not afford to drop points and the way we responded was vital."
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