Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has admitted the Barclays Premier League table makes unpleasant reading after defeat at Norwich left them 10 points behind leaders Chelsea.
The Canaries recorded their first league win under new boss Chris Hughton after producing a hard-working display to capitalise on a lacklustre performance by the Gunners.
Grant Holt's first-half goal, coming after goalkeeper Vito Mannone had spilled Alex Tettey's 25-yard effort, proved enough to condemn Arsenal to a second defeat in their last three Premier League games.
"The gap is very unpleasant" - Arsene Wenger
The Gunners are now ninth and have work to do simply to get back into contention for the top four, nevermind reeling in Chelsea.
"The gap is very unpleasant," Wenger said. "We had an opportunity that Tottenham could win and we could win, and we both lost. That of course makes the gap a lot bigger.
"You cannot say you do not worry about that, but what is more disappointing is that we could not score. After we went 1-0 down we had the ball for 70 minutes and could not score a goal."
Wenger felt the Norwich result was a reality check for his squad, which had performed so well to win at West Ham before the international break.
"There was always something missing - sharpness, decisiveness in the box. Offensively we were really not at our level," added Wenger, whose side resume their Champions League campaign against Schalke at Emirates Stadium on Wednesday night.
"It was a poor collective offensive performance, rather than one individual missing. We scored goals until now, we were just poor.
"It is a good lesson but I would have preferred not to get it, because if you need lessons like that you will stand there at the end of the season and be full of regrets.
"We have to face the reality that if you are not completely ready in the Premier League, then you have no chance."
Midfielder Mikel Arteta accepted Arsenal had let themselves down at Carrow Road.
"For the amount of ball we had in the game we should have done more and created more goal situations. We need more patience sometimes," Arteta told Arsenal Player.
"We have time to come back, but we are down because we know how good we are and how good we can be. You have to come here, get the points and get away."