Edinburgh head coach Richard Cockerill admits Zebre match is 'must win'

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'It's not all bad at Edinburgh, we're slowly improving' - Richard Cockerill

Head coach Richard Cockerill says nobody at Edinburgh is downbeat despite their three-game losing run, but admits they need to beat Zebre this weekend.

After winning their opening two Pro14 matches this season, Edinburgh have lost to Benetton, Scarlets and Leinster back-to-back.

And Cockerill says beating Zebre at Myreside on Friday is a must as they enter a crucial period of the season.

"We have to win at the weekend, it's as simple as that," he said.

"We have Zebre then we have two European games, [then] Treviso away, Ospreys at home. Those are three [Pro14] games that, if we are on our game, we can win. That puts us in a strong position with the teams around us and puts pressure on the teams that are above us.

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Highlights - Edinburgh 17-20 Treviso

"In between we go to London Irish and to Moscow to play Krasny Yar so it's an important five weeks for us both in the league and in Europe.

"At the weekend if we get it right we'll win the game. We can't assume there are any easy points in this competition."

Cockerill was dismayed at his side's performance in the home defeat to Benetton, but has seen enough in the displays against Scarlets and Leinster, albeit in defeat, to give him hope that Edinburgh can kick-start their season.

"If you take a measured view, it's not all doom and gloom," the former Leicester and Toulon coach explained.

"There are things to solve, of course there are, consistency and skill parts of the game we need to improve very quickly. But it's not all bad.

"You've got to be optimistic and breed some confidence into the group. We're learning our lessons, not as quick as I'd like, but we're getting there slowly.

Edinburgh v Benetton
Edinburgh's first Pro14 defeat of this season came at home to Italian side Benetton

"It's important this weekend against Zebre that we start to put all that together and make sure we get a proper performance and a victory."

Zebre sprung a shock at the weekend by beating a previously undefeated Ulster side. So often the tournament's whipping boys, both Italian sides have won two of their five matches this time around, and Cockerill knows if his team do not bring their best they could fall to a second home defeat to Italian opposition inside three weeks.

"The two Italian sides have had some big results in the last couple of weeks, Cheetahs have come into form in the last few weeks at home. It shows that the competition is credible and anybody can beat anybody.

"The Italian sides have got good enough players. If they're consistent enough over time and you're a little bit off, they're good enough to beat you. We won't take anything for granted and we shouldn't, because there is no reason to."

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