The England midfielder said: “Many people are thinking we are looking at third or fourth place now after the number of games we have won. I am not thinking that way, the way the league has started this season it looks like the top sides are going to lose a lot more games this time than they did last.
“Hopefully the top sides will slip up like we have, and then we can capitalise on it. But we certainly need to improve.
“We know where our problem is, and it is on the road. In Europe we have been really strong and consistent, and we have qualified from our group with two games to spare.
“Last season we did it with one game to spare and the season before that it was that game with Olympiakos right at the death.
“So all that shows how much we have improved as a squad and a team at this level.
“But we are still getting loads of criticism for our league performances.
“If I remember, at this stage two seasons ago we were having a tough time in the league and getting stick, and then we went on from there to win the Champions League.
“I’d bite your hand off for that again! But we have taken six points in the league in our last two games and are in the second stage of the Champions League. It looks an awful lot brighter now.”