Santi Cazorla says Arsenal must accept “collective responsibility” for their Premier League title failures and insists something needs to change if they are to mount a sustained challenge next season.
Arsenal hit the top of the table over the Christmas period, but are now 12 points off leaders Leicester after a poor run of form since late winter.
Cazorla, who could return to the squad for the Saturday evening clash with Norwich after a long injury absence, says that while the club’s attacking philosophy is welcomed, they must also learn how to hold leads.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Cazorla said: “Certainly we need to change something, because if we want to win we need to change. We will see what we have to do, but I think we need to be more regular, regulars every time.
“This year we lost at home to Swansea, drew at home to Crystal Palace, and this is the difference if you want to win the league.
“For example against Crystal Palace when we were winning 1-0, we need to think about defending sometimes.
“It’s true we have a great mentality and great philosophy, because we always want to attack and always want to score, but sometimes we need to be clever, and if we are winning 1-0 we need to protect this result and win the three points.
“We had a great opportunity [to win the title], we know that and we were disappointed. But this is football, and we only look to the future.”
Cazorla on Arsenal protests
There are protests planned at the Emirates for the visit of Norwich, and although Arsene Wenger has fielded most of the criticism, Cazorla says the club must take collective responsibility.
“We all have the responsibility this season. When we win we win together, when we lose we lose together, we are a team,” he added.
“I hope next season we improve a lot and I hope we win next season.
“The first thing I can say is sorry for my injury; I couldn’t help the team for a long time. And the second one would be thank you very much for the support, they are amazing supporters, and the disappointment is normal.
“We know we had a great opportunity to win the league this year and the only thing now is to fight until the end for the final three games.”