Almunia accepts criticism
Manuel Almunia believes Arsenal deserve the criticism they have received in recent weeks.
Last Updated: 12/02/10 9:00am
Arsenal goalkeeper Manuel Almunia believes the Gunners deserve the criticism they have received in recent weeks.
Arsene Wenger's men, who have not lifted a trophy since the FA Cup in 2005, looked to be out of the title race after back-to-back defeats to rivals Manchester United and Chelsea.
But they bounced back with a midweek success over Liverpool, which coupled with Chelsea's defeat to Everton and United's draw at Aston Villa leaves them just six points adrift.
Wenger has often bristled at the pundits who take aim at what he feels is an emerging squad, but goalkeeper Almunia feels they should take it on the chin.
And the Spaniard believes all players need to take responsibility and they are only back in contention because of the failings of others.
"We accept all the critics," Almunia said. "Arsenal are a big club and we deserve to be criticised because we have been playing for many years without fighting for the title.
"The team are growing up and everybody accepts it because we cannot say anything when we don't play well.
"Against United, we were not on our game at any time. At 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. If we are still in the title race, it is because the other teams didn't win.
"We will be back in the race if we win three or four games in a row."
The 32-year-old explained how he and experienced defenders William Gallas and Sol Campbell spoke to their team-mates before the midweek win over the Reds in a bid to boost damaged morale.
He added: "We were talking about our last two games and we said it is impossible for a team who want to be top of the table not to show character on the pitch.
"In the dressing room everyone was switched on to the game and personally I am happy with the character of the team. We talked more with the players individually because they are young.
"They are mature, but they need to be told things clearly."