By Nick Teale
Manuel Almunia has praised Arsenal's strength of character after their 1-0 win over Liverpool on Wednesday night.
The Spanish keeper says the team accepted the criticism that came their way after recent defeats to Manchester United and Chelsea, and believes that negative analysis of recent performances can be good for the side.
The Gunners' togetherness was evident in the way they celebrated Abou Diaby's 72nd-minute winner against the Liverpool and Almunia says that ahead of the game the team had pulled together in their determination to show resolve.
"We were talking about our last two games," he explained. "We said to each other that it is not possible not to show character on the pitch. It is not possible for a team who want to be top of the table.
"From the dressing room before the game, everyone was switched on to the game and personally I am happy with the character of the team.
"We accept all the critics. Arsenal is a big club and we deserve to be criticised because we have been playing for many years without fighting for the title.
"Critics are good sometimes and we accept them. The team is growing up and everybody accepts it because we cannot say anything when we don't play well. We just go home and wait for the next game so we can win."
The Spaniard understands why Arsenal came in for the criticism and knows where the team must improve. However, having seen Manchester United and Chelsea drop points on Wednesday night, the 32-year-old says every team will be in that position at some point this season.
"Against United we were not on our game at any time," he admitted. "Against Chelsea we played well I thought but as soon as we switched off a bit, we lost. There are small points we need to improve, not technically or tactically but personally - little things that we have to show more.
"Every team will complain after they lost. Manchester and Chelsea will be not happy and in a few games they will come back. They will say they can win their next game and we top of the table.
"Every team has to improve. After the Manchester and Chelsea games, they showed they were better than us, but when they play against Everton and Aston Villa they were at the same level. We have to believe it."