Lynn Howells says his players must become more “game aware” if they are to make any sort of impact in the Championship promotion play-offs.
Doncaster Knights cemented a top eight finish - guaranteeing their second tier status for another year - by claiming a losing bonus point at rivals Rotherham on Sunday.
But Howells this week bemoaned the sloppiness and indiscpline that allowed the Titans to fight back and win a pulsating South Yorskhire derby 35-34 at Clifton Lane.
And the director of rugby wants those errors eradicated when the Knights launch their play-off campaign next month and a place in the Aviva Premiership is up for grabs.
Howells, whose side host Esher at Castle Park on Saturday (2.30pm), said: “We were by far the better team and had the game won - but we gave away 21 points on stupid penalties and that’s gifted the game back to Rotherham.
“I said before the match that it would be won by the team who made the least mistakes and that proved to be the case.
“We need to stop giving away silly penalties and we need to be more game aware.
“We have to be more clinical when we’ve not got possession of the ball.”
Doncaster outscored Rotherham by three tries to two and Tristan Roberts kicked 21 points but still ended up on the losing side.
Tries from Latu Makaafi, Roberts and Oli Goss kept nudging the Knights in front as both sides battled admirably in the wind, rain and mud.
Along with his score, fly half Roberts conjured up two conversions, three penalties and a late drop goal that gave the visitors a 34-32 advantage with ten minutes to play.
But Titans centre Juan Pablo Socino proved to be the matchwinner by kicking a 77th minute penalty to add to his six earlier kicks in what proved to be a faultless display from the Argentine.
Howells was due to ring the changes last night when he took his chargers to Meadow Lane for a rearranged league fixture with Nottingham.
His side will end their regular Championship campaign with Castle Park clashes against Esher (Saturday) and Cornish Pirates (Feb 19).
They also face British & Irish Cup games at home to Rotherham next Tuesday and at Scottish Premiership side Ayr (Feb 26) before embarking upon the play-offs.
Howells said: “The aim is to finish as high as we can in the table and if we go into Saturday on the back of beating Nottingham there’s still a chance of reaching fifth place.
“We’ve still got a few games to get through before the play-offs and the priority for me now is to try and keep everyone fresh for those games.”
Glen Kenworthy (groin) and Steve Boden (shoulder) were likely to sit out last night’s trip to Nottingham but should be fit for Saturday.