Manchester City defender Nathan Ake hailed the manner of Saturday's victory at Arsenal.
The Dutch defender believes the champions had to dig deep to see off a determined Arsenal, but added the three points won on New Year's Day were huge.
“It is a very big win," said Ake to City's website.
“We are very happy with this victory after a very busy period. The last week especially has been very tough, with a lot of travelling as well.
“It was a very tough match and I think Arsenal are doing very well this season. We conceded first, so it was tough for us, but we managed to win the game and it is a massive three points.
“We didn't have our best game today, but it helps massively if you get the points over the line.
“Riyad stepped up for the penalty and he scored, and after that we tried to keep the ball as they had the red card.
"We pushed and pushed and even though it wasn't our best game, we still managed to score so we have a lot of willpower to keep going.
“They were really dangerous on the counter-attack and we had problems keeping the ball because our energy was low.
“In the second half we assessed that and tried to come out with a bit more energy and tried to keep the ball better.
“I thought we did that, but it still wasn't our best performance. As the manager said, they were probably better, but the main thing is to make sure your head doesn't drop and just keep going and stay mentally strong.
"You have to stay in the game and then, with the quality that we have up front, we can always create something out of nothing and that is what happened with Bernardo and the penalty.
“After that, we got a little bit more energy and kept on pushing and we got the result.
“For everyone to stay fit and to show that we are able to play a lot of games is really good.
“There are so many more games to come. We will focus game by game and try to make sure that we keep winning and trying to keep that mentality of winning and we will see where we are.
“Beating Arsenal was massive and to start the new year with a win is so important. Now we have a little bit of time to rest, focus and prepare for the FA Cup."