Rachid Bohenna has admitted Dundee United cannot afford any more “mistakes” like Saturday’s shock defeat at Alloa if they are to remain in the thick of the Championship promotion race.
The French-born Algerian was as stunned as anyone as the Tangerines battled hard to get themselves into a winning position at the Indodrill Stadium, only to waste all their good work by conceding two late goals to the Wasps.
And he knows as United battle to close a seven-point gap to second-tier leaders Ross County, they cannot afford any more such slip-ups.
On a tight pitch, and despite dominating possession for most the 90 minutes, Bouhenna and his team-mates had to battle hard to go ahead via a spectacular Callum Booth free-kick an hour into the proceedings.
Having been so much on top, when the ball hit the back of the net, it looked odds on Robbie Neilson’s team would go on and take three points to keep them in touch with top pair County and Ayr United.
For a while it even looked like the all-important second goal would come and Bouhenna knows United created enough openings to get it.
More than that, though, the 27-year-old felt United should have been in a position to make sure that one goal they’d fought so hard for would prove enough to take the points back to Tannadice.
That it wasn’t has left him a frustrated man this week.
“Saturday was a very big disappointment for us,” he said.
“When you are one up in the second half of a game like this, you must keep this advantage. We controlled the game and had chances to score the second.
“We didn’t and then we concede two goals and that is not good. If we want to be top of this league we cannot repeat this mistake.”
Painful as the unexpected defeat was, he believes what’s vital now is United put the disappointment of what was only a second defeat since Neilson took charge in October, behind them as quickly as possible.
And with home games against Partick Thistle and Dunfermline coming up over the next two Saturdays, he wants the focus to be on what lies ahead and not what’s just gone.
“We now just have to think about the next game. We have two games coming now at home and we must think about that and make sure we win them.
“Alloa was a very big disappointment but there is still half of the season for us to play and we must put things right. We must keep going and be strong for the rest of the season.
“We have been good in most home games and we must make sure that continues.”
Since his arrival near the end of the summer transfer window on a two-year contract at Tannadice, Bouhenna has impressed as a hard-tackling centre-half who can also play when he is moving forward with the ball at his feet.
Saturday past, however, saw him moved into a midfield holding role and despite the result, put in an impressive performance.
For him that change of role was about doing what was needed for the team.
“I have played before some games in the midfield. Fraser Fyvie was injured and I will play there because you must always do what is needed for the team.
“It was not a surprise because when I came here I played some games in midfield and when the manager asked me to play there I was happy to do it for the team.
“I have played some games there during my career. Centre-back is my best position, of course, but I knew I could help the team there and I did it.”