Richard Cockerill warned Leicester Tigers there is still a lot of work to be done despite a marginal 14-13 win at Newcastle Falcons that moved them into the top four of Aviva Premiership Rugby.
The Tigers fell 10-0 behind in the first half after Juan Pablo Socino scored, but Mike Fitzgerald hit back for the visitors after a neat Ben Youngs pass.
Freddie Burns kicked three penalties to put Leicester one point ahead, but they lost Peter Betham to a yellow card with 10 minutes to go and Newcastle pushed forwards for a winning score.
But Joel Hodgson missed a drop-goal with the last kick of the game from close range to give Leicester victory.
“It was very disappointing from our point of view,” said director of rugby Cockerill.
“Credit to Newcastle, they could easily have won the game and we are very lucky to be going home with the four points.
“We had lots of opportunities to manage the game and do things better but we didn’t and we are lucky to win.
“The effort the players are putting in to try and solve the issues they are putting themselves under is credit to them so there is no lack of effort, we just need to be smarter.
“There was a period at the start of that second half where we should have controlled the ball better. Our ball control was poor and the scrum was a mess.
“Newcastle were very good and created a lot of opportunities which they will be disappointed they did not take.”
Newcastle director of rugby Dean Richards echoed those views, but refused to blame Hodgson for the defeat.
The Falcons have lost their last two games but Richards insists they are in a far better position than they were a year ago and is demanding only minor improvements.
“We butchered a number of opportunities. Had we taken those we would have won but I thought we showed a huge amount of spirit,” he said.
“The boys decided to go for the drop goal and you support the boys on that. There are a couple of other things we could have gone for and they made a decision.
“George Ford has been knocking them over for fun so they thought why not go for it.
“We are in a totally different position this year because we had not won a game before Christmas last year and if you look at today’s performance I would say it was half reasonable.
“If we pay more attention to detail then we will be fine.”
Newcastle Falcons: Hammersley, Goneva, Waldouck, Socino, Sinoti, Delany (Hodgson 60), Takulua (Young 62), Vickers, Lawson (Sowrey 72), Welsh, Green, Olmstead (Witty 66), Wilson, Welch, Hogg (Temm 68).
Subs not used: Ryan, Agulla
Leicester Tigers: Tait, Veainu, Betham, Williams (Roberts 65), Pietersen, Burns, B Youngs, Genge, McGuigan (T Youngs 49), Cole, Fitzgerald (Slater 72), Kitchener, Williams, O’Connor, Hamilton (Evans 67).
Subs not used: Munipola, Bateman, Kitto, Thompstone
Pen: Delany, Hodgson
Pen: Burns 3
Referee: JP Doyle