Per Mertesacker has hailed Arsenal's "calm" response to the criticism they received after the opening-day defeat to Aston Villa.

Arsène Wenger's side have registered four straight wins since then, including Sunday's narrow victory over Tottenham in the north London derby.

The German defender, who has captained the side in the absence of Thomas Vermaelen and Mikel Arteta, was delighted with the three points against Spurs.

The derby is always important to win and we showed that we are a good team

Per Mertesacker

"You heard some things from the stand during the Villa game that we should spend money," he said. "But [on Sunday] everybody was calm and just encouraged the team to fight.

"We played well and that's always the best answer to the rumours and the criticism. We just kept clam and did our best.

"The derby is always important to win and we showed that we are a good team with good spirit and we showed we can defend as well.

"The manager said at the start that we should believe in ourselves and in our passing game. In the first half we did that fantastically and showed we are ready for the fight for the rest of the season."

Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 2 Sep 2013