Mikel Arteta has acknowledged Arsenal can ill-afford any more slip-ups in the Premier League title race.
Manchester City’s impressive win at Newcastle last weekend sent an ominous warning to the chasing pack, but Pep Guardiola’s holders are only second in the table behind Liverpool.
Arsenal battled to a 1-1 draw at Anfield before Christmas and yet trail Liverpool by five points after a poor festive period.
The Gunners welcome Crystal Palace to the Emirates on Saturday on a three-match losing streak in all competitions and Arteta insisted his young squad have to rediscover their consistency quickly.
“We better start to pick up points that is for sure, if we want it be up there, to start to have consistently three points on the board. We know that at this level, you cannot have more slip-ups at this level,” Arteta said.
“We want to cut that (lead) as quick as possible and every time you lose, the next most important thing is to win. We have not managed to do that and that is the reality and we have to face it.
“We have done a lot of things to try to do that and to produce as much as possible in the games and as little as possible from the opponent, which has happened, but in the end you have to win the games and that hasn’t happened.”
A 2-0 loss at home to Liverpool in the FA Cup third round at the start of this month provided a sense of groundhog day for Arsenal.
Arsenal squandered several opportunities, which had also been the chase in a defeat to West Ham at the end of December, before they were made to pay by Jurgen Klopp’s men.
He added: “You look at all the data and it is Arsenal, Arsenal, Arsenal, at the top, at the top, at the top. The reality is that we haven’t won enough matches.
“There is something underneath that, it is like an onion, the first layer, second layer. We have to go to the bottom of it to understand actually what is making us win or lose.
“It is the small details, the margins and then the boxes have played a big part of that.
“We have to change that. As a coach, you think yeah do that and that’s what will happen. It’s not. We have to find something else to win.
Arteta hailed it as a “phenomenal” time and one which had allowed his weary group to recharge their batteries.
The time in Dubai was also used to work on the club’s recent profligacy in front of goal, with the Arsenal boss hoping to see the fruits of such labour when Palace visit this weekend.
“When we have to make an action in the box, we have to be with no hesitation, no thinking and deliver the moment,” Arteta insisted.
“There were a few situations (against Liverpool) where we were taking extra touches and moments where we did not make the decision quick enough.”