Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere has claimed the questions marks that were raised about the character of Arsene Wenger's side has strengthened their resolve heading into the hectic festive fixture list.
The critics were out in force earlier this month as the Gunners crashed to an embarrassing Capital One Cup quarter-final defeat at the hands of League Two side Bradford, yet Wilshere has insisted the determination of his team-mates to prove the doubters wrong is spurring them on now.
"We never questioned our character," Wilshere told the Arsenal website. "People questioned it but we never did. We know we've got a great squad here. There's a great team spirit and it shows on the pitch.
"At this time of year, with all the games coming up, you just need results. We know we've got tough games coming up. We've got a game at the Emirates (against Newcastle) and we expect to win our games at home. We need to get up for that.
"Then we've got Southampton away, who are struggling and they need the points. But we've got a week to recover, so we'll enjoy Christmas Day and go again at the weekend."
Meanwhile Wilshere has revealed he is teasing team-mate Theo Walcott about his ongoing contract wrangle, after he committed his long-term future to Arsenal by signing a new contract last week.
"I'm always winding him up saying "c'mon Theo, sign the deal"," added Wilshere. "It's up to him and the club. Theo knows what he means to us and what he means to the fans.
"Hopefully he looks at the rest of us signing new deals and it helps him. I think he looked at that. We're all great friends, the British boys, we all go out together, have meals together and sit together when we're on the road, so hopefully he can follow us and sign."