Vincent Kompany knows better than to expect Manchester City's detractors to give them an easy ride this season.
It allowed manager Roberto Mancini to score a notable triumph over the man he replaced, Mark Hughes, as well as see his team to move within three points of the Premier League summit.
As Mancini pointed out in the aftermath, it is not a bad situation for a club supposedly in crisis, particularly given City's likely buying power in January.
Yet Kompany is not surprised by the criticism.
He realises there is a body of opinion that feels the Blues will not succeed but 24-year-old feels it would be better to ignore it.
"We are professionals and we are clever enough to know that not a lot is going to be given to us," he said ahead of the trip to Stoke.
"I don't feel anything when I see the criticism.
"We have big players and strong characters in this team and it is probably part of what we have to go through this season.
"In the end, we are just 18 individuals coming together to play a game on a Saturday trying to pull at the same string."
As one of the men brought to Eastlands by Hughes, Kompany could be forgiven if he felt sympathy for his old boss.
Yet that is not the way it can be for the Belgium international, who arrived in England from Hamburg viewed mainly as a midfielder two years ago but has become one of the key components of Mancini's obdurate defence.
Kompany grudgingly accepts he is currently playing the most consistent football of his career.
But at his age, it is only what he expected.
"Ever since I joined City things have been going quite well for me," he said.
"I have kept improving. But if I played well at Fulham then I expect to do just as well, or even better, next week. That is the attitude I go into a game with.
"I was 22 when I came here. I am 24 now. It is normal that I am a bit better than I was at first."