"Devastated" Dundee United manager Mixu Paatelainen says his side must eliminate defensive errors and be more ruthless in attack if they are to climb the Scottish Premiership table.
Paatelainen's saw United lose 1-0 to Partick Thistle, a result which moved them eight points adrift in last place.
"We must start winning matches or there's not a chance - we simply need to do better in both boxes," he said.
"We need to be more decisive and determined and not fall asleep."
Kris Doolan's goal separated the teams at Tannadice, with Paatelainen citing individual mistakes as proving costly, rather than the team's formation.
"Partick Thistle never really had clear-cut chances apart from the goal," he told BBC Scotland. "We were solid there.
"Of course it is easy to start mocking the formation, but we are solid. Whether it is back three, back four, back five, back seven, when the ball goes into the box to the striker's feet, and the defender is on the wrong side, it is not the system at fault, it is the player, solely."
The Finn believed United were denied a penalty when the ball struck the arm of Thistle's Liam Lindsay in the box, but conceded the Terrors must face up to their own shortcomings.
"Maybe there is more for us, but we want to look at our game," he said. "When we get those chances to shoot or get behind them, we simply need to take them with more conviction."
Partick Thistle managerAlan Archibald was understandably delighted to extend the Firhill side's winning run to three matches.
"We're away from home and United threw everything at us," he said. "It's a hard shape to play against - in previous weeks they've made a lot of chances.
"So I was really delighted with the lads' shape and the way we kept it together. There weren't a lot of gaps for them to play in."
The manager lauded the endeavour of match winner Doolan, whose goal came a day after his 29th birthday.
"He's been terrific," added Archibald. "His work-rate is incredible. He doesn't always get the credit he deserves.
"You saw him today clearing two fantastic headers in our box as well - he's such an asset to the club and we're delighted to have him."