By Nik Brumsack

Arsène Wenger acknowledges his side must improve quickly if they are to compete for the Premier League title this season.

A tough start to the campaign has seen Arsenal face a set of difficult games on the road and Saturday’s defeat against Manchester United left Wenger’s team nine points adrift of their table-topping opponents.

The Arsenal manager admits recent performances have not been good enough and is hoping his team can rapidly recover their form.

“We were poor today defensively I think,” Wenger said after the game at Old Trafford. “There’s no obvious reason [for that] apart from the fact that we didn’t start well and that Man United have quality up front. They score goals against everybody and [were] better than us. It’s as simple as that.

“I think today we were not good. At Man City, we played a 1-1. We had a good result and didn’t suffer from [the] comparison. Today, I just think at the moment we are not on full cylinders and we looked much more vulnerable defensively than we were at the start of the season.

“That’s what we have to show [that the team can compete for the title]. At the moment, you cannot say that because we are far away. But that’s what the target is until the end of the season.

“We’ve played many away games now in many difficult places. We’ve played at [Manchester] City, at [Manchester] United, at Liverpool [and] at Stoke. So we have many difficult away games. But we are very far behind now.”

Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 4 Nov 2012