Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker believes the club are answering their critics emphatically with their outstanding recent form, the Daily Star reports.
The Gunners have come in for some heavy criticism over the course of the season for seemingly falling short of a title challenge earlier than they have.
Criticism of Wenger, his methods, and the squad only increased once the club crashed out of the Champions League in surprising circumstances to French side Monaco last month.
However, the Gunners have now found themselves firmly back in the hunt for the Premier League title, as well as having the chance to defend their FA Cup crown with an appearance in the semi-final later this month.
“I am delighted with how the team responded to the criticism that came our way,” he said.
“We are in a good position now [but at the start] we suffered a lot of injuries to players who were amazing last season, so we had to replace them with youngsters.
“But there was always good energy because they proved they can deliver good performances for the team and that raised everyone’s level. I am delighted with the team’s performances throughout the year.”
And the former German international believes their early season blip can be put down to a case of the post World Cup blues. Mertesacker himself returned to training late having won the tournament, and the club had no less than 11 players involved in Brazil, meaning a sluggish start to the campaign was almost guaranteed.
“It is a completely new experience for a lot of players to have post-World Cup difficulties.
“Those who came from the World Cup had no break and no pre-season, we started right in the season and [had to] try to find form.
“A lot of players got injured or weren’t in the best form, so it took us a while to be at our top level.
“But the belief and trust of the manager and the inner core of the club has been absolutely amazing.
“This means more to me than what happened in the first few months with the lack of form and the criticism.”