Bristol coach Liam Middleton was scathing of his side's performance against London Welsh in the Championship play-offs on Sunday.
Middleton's men relied on Matt Jones's injury-time penalty to secure a 12-12 draw to remain top of Pool A.
"I'm very disappointed. We started the game badly and lost our direction," he told BBC Radio Bristol.
"We had enough opportunities to score and to win the game but in the end I don't think we did well enough to win."
The hosts took an early lead through two Tristan Roberts penalties, but Welsh hauled them back when Alex Davies notched two of his own.
Jones then kicked Bristol ahead again, only for Davies to draw his side level with his third penalty, before Gordon Ross added a drop goal to give the visitors the lead for the first time.
"Ruthlessness was lacking from our game. We didn't take the opportunities that were there, and that shows how far we have to go as a team," Middleton said.
After finishing top of the Championship table, Bristol went into the play-offs being tipped for promotion, but Middleton is aware of his side's limitations.
"We're still on a journey as a team. We've probably exceeded expectations this season but I've always remained level-headed because I can see where our weaknesses are," Middleton said.
"Developing the squad will take time, so I always play things down when people say we are favourites.
"There are teams out there who can beat us. I'd say there are two or three teams who can beat us on their day."
Middleton believes failure to win their next match against Nottingham would pose serious problems as the team looks for promotion.
"Anything less than four points is a failure and anything less than four points will give us a fair few problems. I will be expecting a fairly severe response from the players."