But O'Connell, who played in all three Tests for the Lions in both 2005 and 2009, has hit back at the growing number of critics, particularly ex-players who have spoken out about the current state of Munster rugby.
"A lot of it is uninformed comment," said O'Connell.
"I mean, some of the ex-players who are writing were barely informed when they were playing with us, not to mention when they're outside doing whatever they're doing now.
"We're our own harshest critics. We know where we are as a team. We know where we can be. We know how good we can be. How bad we can be.
"Sure it's been a sluggish start and there will be other days when we'll have to look at ourselves. But I think we're going in the right direction now."
O'Connell's comments were immediately backed up by those of the Munster head coach Tony McGahan. The Australian knows that expectations within Munster will also be extremely high but he too has been disappointed with the nature of some of the criticism aimed at his side.
"We can't control what's being put out there," explained McGahan.
"The disappointing thing from Munster and the players and the whole organisation is that some former players out there are making ill-informed remarks which are as far removed from the squad as they are.
"It's disappointing. We don't take any notice of it because luckily we don't have people like that in our organisation.
"We criticise ourselves, we're our harshest critics. We don't need anyone to tell us if we've played badly. We certainly knew we were below standards. We turn up every day, we live in the environment. We know what works and what doesn't.
"We know that there's great support out there, from the people on the street and who we talk to. We're not going to let a small minority put cracks in what is an excellent organisation."