Arsenal were much maligned during the summer for their lack of experience after the departures of Thierry Henry and Freddie Ljungberg. Many commentators had written off the side's chances of finishing the season in the top four and tipped local rivals Spurs to take their place.
"They were certainly not pleased by that [criticism]," said the manager. "But as much as we have been written off we are not up there again yet. We have not played many games.
"You always have your pride and you want to give a response to people who don't believe in you. But the real strength has to come from inside the team with the values we have to be faithful to, the football we want to play and the trust we have to put in each other.
"That must be stronger than just a response to outside adversity because if it stops coming then we have nowhere to go. We need something stronger to rely on. That always has to be our ambitions and the values we want to have inside our squad."