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Mar, 21, 2013

Johnson: Criticism is normal

Sunderland winger Adam Johnson believes recent criticism of the club is a natural consequence of their poor run of form.

• Blog: Time for leadership

The Black Cats are currently bottom of the Premier League form table without a win in seven, while they sit just four points above the relegation zone.

Following Sunday's 1-1 draw with ten-man Norwich, the team were booed off the pitch. Despite expecting to receive criticism, Johnson says it does not affect him and believes the club must now unite in order to stave off the threat of relegation.

"You always get that, being judged [by fans and pundits] is a part of football," Johnson told BBC Newcastle. "If it's going well you're the world's best, when it's not you're the worst. I never read papers when I was younger, it doesn't bother me anymore what people say about me, I just want to get on with the game and do as well as I can. As a team and as a club we've got to stick together and just get through this bad time, all teams go through it.

"When you're winning it goes well, no-one has anything to moan about. When things aren't going well, people get down, the team and fans, and the sooner we get a couple of good results the better. We've just got to keep fighting."

A summer signing from Manchester City, Johnson arrived at the club with big expectations - something he has struggled to live up to during the club's indifferent campaign.

Up next for Sunderland are league leaders Manchester United after the international break, and Johnson believes it could be exactly the kind of game that Sunderland can cause an upset in.

"That's the beauty of football," Johnson said. "The last three games everyone expected us to get a result, you get points in games where teams don't expect it. Maybe the lads go out without expectancy and can play their own game, so when we surprise them it's good. There's nothing better than playing a team that could win the league this season and show them what we can do. A good performance against them and everything is good again."

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