Dunfermline’s defeat and Raith Rovers’ draw meant Hearts increased their advantage by a point despite a disappointing goallless draw at Gayfield Park.
They lacked creativity in the first half against a stubborn and determined Arbroath side, who should have taken the lead early on. Hearts grew stronger as the game progressed but lacked a clinical edge to finish the chances they did manage to create.
“We’re 16 points clear with six games to go. We’re looking to win the league and that’s it,” said Neilson.
“You have to give credit to Arbroath, they’re a very good team. They have one of the best home records in Scotland and the surface makes it difficult.
“In the first half we were playing into a win but we settled down in the second half and started to play a bit of football. We just didn’t convert the chances we had.
“I think Armand Gnanduillet and Liam Boyce have good assets and once they get that relationship I think you’ll see them scoring more goals.”
Hearts now turn their attention to the Scottish Cup as they prepare to visit Highland League winners Brora Rangers on Tuesday night.
“It’s about picking up points and winning the league. That was the objective at the start of the season and we’re in a good position at the moment,” added Neilson.
“We’ve still got some work to do and we have a banana skin coming up on Tuesday night at Brora, so we need to make sure we’re ready for that.
“The Scottish Cup is a tournament we want to do well in. We’ve made the final in the last two seasons and we want to take that final step. It starts at Brora.
“We’re delighted the cup is starting again and we have a good position in the league. We have a good lead with six games to go but we want to have something else to go after as well.
“We want to keep the team driving forward and the cup gives us a chance to do that.”