Arsenal confidence rises after Sunderland victory

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Thierry Henry's dramatic late winner at Sunderland on Saturday has given Arsenal the perfect boost during a defining week of the club's season, reveals Laurent Koscielny.

The Gunners return to Champions League action this week, with the first leg of their last-16 clash with AC Milan, and the 26-year-old defender says that confidence is high in the dressing room.

"It was very important. We lost three games, then beat Blackburn at home and we came here to win," Koscielny told Arsenal Player. "We played very well.

"We conceded a strange goal but that's life and we came back and won. That's a good for the team and it's better for the games ahead against Milan and Sunderland in the FA Cup.

"Everyone is very happy for Thierry, because he's a good player. The best players can change a game."

James McClean's second-half strike had put the Black Cats ahead with 20 minutes remaining, but late goals from substitutes Aaron Ramsey and Henry fired Arsenal back into the top four.

The Welsh midfielder was delighted to get on the scoresheet, and credited the players' midweek team discussion as the catalyst for the Gunners' comeback.

"We had a meeting last week about doing well for the rest of the season and one of the points that came to us was to never give up in the game," he added. "That was the case against Sunderland, and we showed it against Aston Villa too.

"We have good team spirit here and belief that we can still win the game. It was nice for me to get on the scoresheet as well as Thierry getting the winner.

"It's been a fantastic period for him coming back to the club he supports and has done so much for. It's a great story for him so far.

"There was a great atmosphere in the dressing room after the game and everyone was enjoying it. We were 1-0 down with just over 10 minutes to go, so it was a great win for us."

Wednesday's trip to the San Siro is an eagerly anticipated encounter that promises to be a stern test of Arsenal's Champions League credentials this year, when they come up against the Italian champions.

Arsene Wenger has spoken of his confidence that his players can come through the challenge unscathed, and is adamant that the squad have learnt their lessons from last season's experience of being knocked out of Europe and the FA Cup in the space of a single week in March last year.

Premier League
Laurent Koscielny

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