Michael Carrick admitted Manchester United made a "shocking start" to the season but said they have surprised themselves with the speed of their recovery.
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The defending champions are unbeaten in nine games in all competitions, winning six of them, and Sunday’s 1-0 victory over Arsenal enabled them to leapfrog Manchester City, Everton and Tottenham and go fifth in the table.
But before then, they had made their worst ever start to a Premier League campaign, losing three of their first six games.
And midfielder Carrick said: "After a shocking start we are not in a bad position. We never really got too despondent. We were frustrated with our performances and results. But you have to stay patient and trust yourself. We knew there was a long way to go. There still is a long way to go.
"In some ways we probably didn't think a few weeks ago we would be in this position quite as quickly. At the same time, we are not in bad shape at the moment. It is so early anyway."
Carrick, who pulled out of the England squad to face Chile and Germany because of an Achilles injury, said he was never concerned by the criticism United received during their sticky spell.
He added: "It is easy to jump on the bandwagon when we have lost a game or two and people are saying it is all wrong. We knew that wasn't the case.
"You can take it as a compliment in some ways because of what we have done over the years. When we are not at the top, because of our recent run in the league, people are asking questions and criticising. In some ways it is fair. In some ways we take it with a pinch of salt. We look at how we deal with it from within."