Ulster's lead at the top of the Magners League may have increased to seven points at the half-way stage of the defence of their crown, but coach Mark McCall admitted his side cannot afford to repeat the performance at Ravenhill last night when the province travel to Lansdowne Road on New Year's Eve for the Last Stand showdown against Leinster.
Second-half tries by Tommy Bowe (2) and Neil Best enabled Ulster to grind out an important if not overly-impressive victory over Connacht at Ravenhill as second-placed Llanelli crashed to the Ospreys.
Llanelli however still have two games in hand and they will be hoping Leinster can do them a favour by defeating McCall's men on Sunday.
And the Ulster coach admitted there is much work to do before the New Year's Eve clash, despite last night's triumph.
"It has been a good night in that we got the points and Llanelli lost at the Ospreys, but we are disappointed with the way we played and we know we need to play a lot better than that in five days time," said McCall.
"There are areas of our game that we didn't expect to go badly tonight which didn't go as well as we liked.
"We lost more line-out ball than we would have liked and because of that for the first 25 minutes of the game we couldn't get any pattern to our play.
"There were a lot of mistakes from both teams, but Connacht are a good side. We watched their last two games leading up to this match and they did exactly the same to Munster and exactly the same to Cardiff before that.
"So we are not the first side to have been frustrated by them. At the same time we came out in the second half, got the result and we can move onto the next game now."
Connacht, despite the disappointing defeat to Montpellier in the European Challenge Cup, produced their finest away performance of the season and with a bit more precision and perhaps belief could have seriously challenged their woeful record at Ravenhill, where their last victory was back in November 1960.
Ultimately though, Ulster's defence prevented them from even taking a losing bonus point and although a fourth try eluded the home side, McCall's men did what they had to do in poor conditions.
"We said before the match to the group that it was a pivotal game because we are going into a difficult part of the season now," added McCall.
"And it was important to round off this part of the season on a high in terms of getting the points and the result.
"We have done that, but there is still a hugely long way to go because we are only half-way through the campaign and January is going to be a tough month for us.
"We are disappointed because we set high standards for ourselves as a team and we dropped below those for most of the game tonight.
"We will have to play a lot better but we know we can."
Ulster's only injury concerns were a back spasm to Bryn Cunningham, who had to retire during the first half while David Humphreys, who was replaced by Paddy Wallace at half-time, has a slight calf problem.