Leicester boss Richard Cockerill admitted his side "played poorly" as they scraped a win at home to Aviva Premiership strugglers Gloucester.
The champions looked on course for their first defeat at home to Gloucester since 2007 before a 69th-minute try from full-back Mathew Tait and a second Toby Flood penalty two minutes from time got them out of jail.
That late show earned the Tigers an 11-8 win and kept them in fifth place, level on points with Harlequins, who have won one game more.
But Cockerill accepted the Tigers would lose against better sides if they did not improve quickly.
He said: "We played poorly. We were hanging on for dear life at the end and we need to get better.
"We were glad to get the win, that's the only positive about the game."
Leicester won thanks to the dominance of their scrum, Flood's winning penalty coming after Gloucester had been penalised for collapsing.
"We did well, but you have to take into context who we were playing against," said Cockerill.
"We would expect to get some dominance there against Gloucester.
"But we were inaccurate across the board. We had opportunities, but we coughed the ball up numerous times with basic errors.
"We need to get some rhythm back in our game. If we play as poorly next week we will get beaten."
Gloucester led 8-3 with just 11 minutes left thanks to a try by winger Charlie Sharples and a Rob Cook penalty.
But in the end they slipped to their 10th defeat of the season, which left them third from bottom on just 23 points.
Director of rugby Nigel Davies said his side would have won had their scrum been solid.
He said: "The scrum was a huge factor today. If we had parity we would have won that game."
Davies was unhappy with referee Dean Richards for giving Leicester a free-kick for a crooked feed by scrum-half Dan Robson near the end. Leicester elected to go for the scrum, which Gloucester collapsed, allowing Flood to kick the winning penalty.
Davies said: "It was wrong. I don't know why he made that call, because it was clearly straight."
However, he praised his players.
He said: "I was very complimentary to the players because of the way they committed to the game. The work in the contact area was exceptional.
"We were under a lot of pressure in the set piece, but we played around that and tried to play a fluid game.
"I thought we were great. What can you say when guys give everything. We have just got to use that as a bench mark."