Adnan Januzaj has explained the ways in which his game has improved since leaving Manchester United on loan.
The Belgian winger moved to Sunderland on a season-long loan deal at the start of the season and has shown some decent form under his former Manchester United manager David Moyes, who first gave him his break at Old Trafford.
And since signing for the Black Cats, Januzaj has three assists in 15 Premier League starts with Sunderland.
The 22-year-old believes he has improved both the mental side of his game, as well as his defensive performance.
“This manager knows what I can do,” he said in the North Shields Gazzette of Moyes. “I don’t mind when a manager tries to push me.
“He is being hard on me and I have to take it and try to play some big games.
“Criticism makes you stronger. You can criticise me how you want, the first thing that I think about is my own game when I go out onto the pitch.
“I would say mentally I have improved, that has been a strength of mine.
“It has been a hard time for me because it has not been an easy position to be in. I have become a much stronger player than I have been.
“Defensively I have also had to improve because I have had to defend more.
“That has helped my fitness as well. I feel much fitter now playing this way.”