The Spaniard says the squad was conscious of the growing wait for silverware, but is optimistic about the new campaign after last term's triumph and the arrival of Alexis Sanchez.Arsenal playmaker Santi Cazorla believes the Gunners’ FA Cup triumph last season has relieved the pressure on the squad ahead of the 2014-15 campaign.
The north Londoners claimed a 3-2 extra-time victory over Hull City at Wembley Stadium in May, bringing to an end a nine-year wait for silverware.
The Spain international admits the side had felt inhibited and burdened by the club’s trophy drought in previous seasons, but is confident the Gunners can play with greater freedom following last term’s success.
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“I think it has changed the pressure on us heading into the new season,” the former Villarreal and Malaga man told Marca. “It liberated us in a certain way. The team, after so many years without winning anything, were aware of the tension at important times.”
Arsenal has been busy over the summer, sealing deals for Alexis Sanchez and Mathieu Debuchy, with further business expected, and Cazorla is excited by the prospect of playing alongside the Chilean.
“I like his arrival. He's a top-level footballer who surely would've had an awful lot of offers on the table and the fact that he has chosen Arsenal is great for everybody,” the Spaniard continued. “I am convinced that he's going to bring great things to the team.”
The signing of the former Barcelona attacker increases the competition for places in a squad already packed with talent, but Cazorla has backed himself to cling onto a first-team place.
“I hope I can bring many things, although it will be difficult to get in the side!” he quipped. “There are so many players and all at a great level: [Mesut] Ozil, [Aaron] Ramsey, [Jack] Wilshere, [Theo] Walcott, and now Alexis too. In any case, it's important that the group is competitive. That will mean we all raise our game.”