By Rob Kelly

Arsène Wenger says his players must pour all their energy into getting close to the summit of the Premier League once again.

Arsenal lost ground on early-season pacesetters Chelsea after slipping to a disappointing 1-0 defeat at Norwich on Saturday.

The result puts them 10 points behind the league leaders, and Wenger insists his side must respond immediately if they are to make up the gap.

“At the moment I agree with you [that 10 points] is a lot,” the manager said. “But we just have to focus on getting closer now.

“For us, it’s not only the number of points, it is that the margin of error we have in front of us is very limited. With a result like [the defeat to Norwich] we have put huge pressure on our shoulders.

“It came at a period where we absolutely needed to win that game. The rest we are in a strong position, I am not too worried about the quality of the players coming back. What is very important is that we do not lose more ground.”

Wenger admits the defeat at Carrow Road was “difficult to swallow” and says his side must stop conceding early goals if they are to move up the table.

“We made more than 600 passes in that game and I watched it again twice and they defended very well,” he said. “We were not quick or sharp enough to create chances.

“After 20 minutes they were 1-0 up and we made it easy for them. It’s now four times that we have been 1-0 down - against Montpellier, Chelsea, West Ham and Norwich.

“You win one or two times, but one time you will lose because the team who is there to defend thinks, ‘Now we are in a strong position, we can really focus on defending’. That’s what they did. We are guilty of conceding the goal in the way we did.”

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23 Oct 2012