Director of rugby Dean Richards says Newcastle Falcons lost to Harlequins because they showed "too much respect".
Falcons trailed by 15 points at half-time on Saturday and, despite a late comeback, eventually lost 46-25.
"It's what might have been if we hadn't gifted them the tries in the first half," Richards told BBC Newcastle.
"We showed them too much respect. So in the second half we said 'right, we're not prepared to do that' and we scored three tries."
It was a sixth consecutive defeat for the Falcons, who remain four points above bottom-placed London Irish with three games left of the season.
The 52-year old continued: "I thought we looked pretty sharp [at three points down with 20 minutes remaining], but then we lost Sean Robinson to the sin-bin and started chasing the game.
"We gave a few penalties away which we didn't need to do and they [Harlequins] converted those and started to pull away again."
Prop Rob Vickers added: "It's those little mistakes that are just biting us a little bit at the moment."
The Kingston Park outfit will next face London Irish at home on Sunday, 17 April in a game which could be decisive in the Premiership relegation battle.
"It's about doing the right things over the next two weeks to ensure we deliver a performance we're proud of and the result will take care of itself," Vickers said.