INFLUENTIAL scrum-half Francois Hougaard says Worcester Warriors need to get back to getting the basics right in their quest to avoid relegation from the Gallagher Premiership.

Warriors put in another error-strewn performance on Saturday as they lost 28-16 at Wasps to remain three points above the drop zone with four games left.

Hougaard said the loss was a “bitter pill to swallow” but insisted the buck stopped with himself and his team-mates.

The 31-year-old stressed Worcester cannot afford to “clock off” and make mistakes in matches as Wasps punished the visitors with three converted tries in the opening quarter of the game.

“We have only got ourselves to blame for this one,” Hougaard said.

“They blew us away in the first 20 minutes and that was through our own mistakes.

“We played well to get back into it and had our opportunities but then we made mistakes.

“We need to focus on having a more consistent performance week in, week out.

“We have showed that we can play some great rugby but it doesn’t help when you play great one weekend and then you clock off the next and have a bad performance with lapses in concentration and things like that.

“When we made mistakes Wasps punished us and that’s what great sides do.”

Asked why Warriors were switching off in games, Hougaard replied: “It might be down to individual errors or guys not knowing their certain roles.

“I am not saying that was the case but those are the types of things (that happen) when you are not in the right place at the right time so maybe two phases after that (mistake) it can cause a gap in the defence or you take your eyes off the ball.

“It comes down to the basics. When you do not do the basics right you get punished for it.

“I think everyone wants to play a beautiful brand of rugby but if you can’t do the basics right you can’t play rugby.

“I am not going to point fingers at any of my team-mates.

“It’s a team sport so we have got to sit down and decide together how badly we want it and how much effort we want to put in for the rest of the season.”

Basement dwellers Newcastle Falcons failed to take advantage of Warriors’ slip-up as they went down 26-12 at Saracens.

Third-from-bottom Leicester Tigers visit Newcastle on Friday night in another huge match in the battle for survival before Worcester tackle fifth-placed Sale Sharks at Sixways on Saturday (3pm).

“We are looking forward to another challenge,” Hougaard said.

“But we have got to get over this one first as it was a bitter pill to swallow because we had the opportunity to get back into it.

“If we focus on winning each game the rest is not going to matter.

“I don’t want to focus on other teams and seeing what their results are.

“We need to make sure that we perform and focus on what we do because at certain stages we lose concentration and make a bad error.

“(At some stage) those teams (around us) are going to start winning and we are going to find ourselves in a really difficult situation.”