Arsene Wenger was delighted with the mental strength of his Arsenal squad after a 2-1 home win over Bolton Wanderers put them back on track for fourth place in the Premiership.
The Gunners had been in danger of missing out on a Champions League place altogether after a recent collapse in form, but goals from Tomas Rosicky and Cesc Fabregas were enough to see off the Trotters.
Wenger said: "It is a big step. To lose the game today would have put us in a bad situation.
"I feel I am happy with the performance of the team and happy with the mental strength we have shown, because we were 1-0 down and we came back to win.
"I got a quick response and we got chance after chance and in fairness we outplayed Bolton through the pace of our passing.
"With a team you live in a tunnel and sometimes you have to experience going down and flirting with Hell to see how much you can deal with to become stronger.
"We had a disappointing three or four weeks and I am very pleased with how the team has responded.
"I respect the way they have behaved in the last three weeks, even if they were the most painful three weeks of the season."