Borussia Dortmund playmaker Mario Gotze admits he is not yet hit top form since rejoining the club but has also hit back at some of his harshest critics.
The 24-year-old has not been scoring as many goals as he would have liked since moving to Dortmund from FC Bayern München, bagging only two in 15 games.
However, he also defended his performances, stating that his role has changed since he first burst onto the scene, and that hard work is more important than glamorous goals.
"Statistically speaking, there's room for improvement," he told Kicker. "In terms of being ready to compete, I'm on the right path. I've only played 15 games and scored two goals, but there will be more – more goals and more assists. I have higher expectations of myself.
"Looking only at what I've achieved in a sporting sense is only looking at one side of the coin. I've played a lot of games and won a lot of trophies, and I'm still a young player. I'm proud and thankful that I've been able to experience what I have. If someone has a problem with me as a person, he should explain to me why.
"The picture people have of me is an old one. I can't always come on in a game and score a goal like in the World Cup final. Today's football means running, intensity and hard work. I couldn't care less about the glamour factor of my new position.
"If I can score more goals and make more assists playing this role, then we're heading in the right direction. I'm taking on different roles now, not just going forward and scoring goals."