Hector Bellerin: Arsenal criticism will make me stronger

Vaishali Bhardwaj

Hector Bellerin has issued a rallying cry for Arsenal supporters to stick by the team as the club try and recover from a spell the defender says is "nothing I've experienced before."

Arsenal suffered their fourth straight away defeat in the league on Monday when they were beaten 3-0 by relegation battlers Crystal Palace.

The loss, coupled with other results this weekend, has left the Gunners languishing in seventh place - 10 points behind fourth-placed Manchester City although they have two games in hand.

Arsenal will take on 19th-placed Middlesbrough tonight at the Riverside Stadium, where the north Londoners have not won in four league meetings.

With Arsenal enduring a poor run of form, there were renewed calls for Arsene Wenger to step down as manager at the end of the defeat at Selhurst Park while a section of the Gunners fans berated Bellerin for his showing against Palace.

Wenger defended the 22-year-old from the criticism he has received from supporters, and Bellerin has now followed that up by insisting he will emerge from this spell stronger than before.

"In other seasons, we’ve gone through bad patches, but probably not as bad as in this one," he told Arsenal Player. "You need to learn to deal with people saying bad things about you and you need to learn to deal with stuff that’s not happened before.

"It will make me stronger, that’s how I see it. Some people can be destroyed or collapse but I think I and everyone at the club needs to look at it positively.

"We just need to do our job on the pitch. We know that fans are angry, we know that people want results because we’re Arsenal and that’s what’s expected from us.

"But it’s been a long time that we went through a patch like this so we need to make sure that we recover from it. Trust me, we’re trying as hard as we can."

He added: "There’s a lot of doubt, we’re not as confident as before but we just need to get ourselves together.

"It’s important that everyone at the club unites - the players, the fans, everyone outside. We have to be as one together because if we’re not, people are trying to divide us and that’s what’s going to make us break.

"We just need to be together and then if we want to push forward, that’s the only way."