Andrew Trimble admits Ulster were left with plenty to work on for Friday's game against Edinburgh after Saturday's surprise Pro12 defeat by Zebre.
An already under-strength side had Declan Fitzpatrick red carded early on but Trimble was still left to reflect on a "pretty disappointing" display.
"A lot of things we talked about before the game, we didn't quite deliver," added the Ireland wing.
"The red card made things difficult but I don't think we dug in really."
Trimble, a second-half replacement in Parma, added:"I don't think we were quite as clinical as we would like to be at the breakdown.
"Our set piece wasn't quite right and defensively, we were a bit poor as well. There are a lot of things to work on."
Despite Saturday's disappointment against the Italian strugglers which saw the Irish province suffering their first defeat of the season, Trimble says the squad are "excited about getting back to Ravenhill this weekend".
This year's Ireland Six Nations hero views the Edinburgh contest, Ulster's first match in October, as stage one of the team's build-up to their opening European games against Leicester and Toulon later in the month.
"Edinburgh play with a lot of pace and are very direct and physical. Their intensity is through the roof and we are going to have our hands full definitely.
"[Alan] Solomons has really sorted them out and we've got to make sure we are ready to take them on.
"If we could have designed a run-in to Europe, it would have been exactly like the way we have it.
"The Glasgow match will probably be a step up again and then it will be Welford Road to face Leicester and then Toulon here.
"The intensity is going to go up and up in the next few weeks."
Given Ulster's important few weeks, Trimble says he is having to "discipline" himself not to think about next month's three autumn internationals against South Africa, Georgia and Australia.
Many pundits picked out the Ulster wing as Ireland's player of the championship in last season's Six Nations triumph but he faces a battle to hold on to his green jersey with the likes of Simon Zebo and Tommy Bowe hoping to catch Joe Schmidt's eye after not featuring last Spring.
"After having a little bit of a taste of it in the Six Nations and in the summer tour which was great as well, I just want to be involved again with Ireland.
"Having been involved last year, I'm fully aware of how much work you have to put in to get anywhere near getting a green jersey on your back.
"But all I'm thinking about at this stage is Edinburgh."