Pep Guardiola has warned his Manchester City players that failure to turn dominance into goals and making mistakes will cost them if repeated against Arsenal and Real Madrid.
City fell to a shock 1-0 defeat at Southampton on Sunday, their ninth loss of the Premier League campaign leaving them 23 points adrift of champions Liverpool.
Che Adams lobbed goalkeeper Ederson after City lost possession and despite 26 shots from the visitors – just six of which were on target – it proved to be the only goal of the game.
Guardiola feels one-off mistakes and his side being unable to take their chances has proven damaging this season.
He insists there is no room for a repeat ahead of key upcoming matches against Arsenal and Madrid in the FA Cup semi-final and Champions League last 16.
"We played really good in terms of what we wanted to do, the commitment with the players after two or three successful seasons is still unbelievable," Guardiola said ahead of Wednesday's home league game against Newcastle United.
"But we are in the point that sometimes we make a mistake that we have to avoid in some games and are punished as a team. And in some games the lack of goals punish us as a team.
"In the semi-final against Arsenal and Madrid this is the reality. We can play the way we played, I don't have doubts this is going to happen and if we are consistent in both boxes, we have a big chance or opportunity to go through.
"But if what happened against Southampton and other games this season like Tottenham home and away or Norwich away, where we dropped points, we will be out and Arsenal and Madrid will go through.
"That is the reality we have to accept. We can be lucky to convert what we produce and defend the less we concede.
"But I don't have any doubts that the team will be there to compete like we have done all season. That is my feeling. We still have incredible targets to fight for."
Guardiola acknowledged a lack of consistency compared to title rivals Liverpool was what really set City back.
He added: "Our consistency has been missing. We've not converted our game plan and in this business you have to win.
"When you lose nine games you cannot win the Premier League right now – maybe years ago. The champions have to score above 90 points so when you lose nine games you cannot win the league.
"I was not able to solve the problem that we have had since the beginning. I remember the game against Tottenham at home, they had two shots on target and we shot more than 20 and we drew.
"It happened in the second game in the league and the last game against Southampton was similar. I was not able to change this dynamic."