Nolberto Solano says that Aston Villa must learn to adopt a killer instinct or risk missing out on a European position.
The Peru international midfield player watched in horror from the substitutes' bench as West Bromwich Albion equalised deep into stoppage time on Sunday to deny Villa what would have been an important victory.
The 1-1 draw dented Villa's hopes of qualifying for the Uefa Cup but Solano is becoming concerned at how many points the team have thrown away because of missed chances.
"That has been a big problem for us," Solano said. " We had enough chances to have defeated West Brom yet we ended up drawing. We must bounce back from it.
"We played well in the first half but only had one goal to show for it. That has to change. When we are dominating matches, we need to take advantage so that teams do not have a chance of drawing or winning against us.
"There have been many
occasions when we played well, dominated a match, yet ended up with either a draw or a defeat.
"That has to stop. If we want to qualify for Europe, we have to score enough goals when we are dominating to win the match."
Villa took the lead through Darius Vassell in the 27th minute and dominated for the first hour. The only surprise was that they did not add to their advantage.
However, once Liam Ridgewell, of Villa, and Jonathan Greening, of Albion, were sent off, the course of the match changed. It was Villa who lost their shape.
Surprisingly, it was Solano who was substituted, in the 64th minute, to facilitate a defensive shake-up.
"Yes, I was disappointed," Solano said. "But that is the manager's decision. I feel good now. I was a bit tired a week ago because I had played in World Cup matches in South America. But I am OK now. I wanted to stay on the pitch."
Nevertheless, Solano is sure to keep his place in the starting line-up for the match away to Southampton on Saturday. Like Albion on Sunday, Southampton will go into the match occupying third- to- bottom position, ensuring a difficult match for Villa.
"This is the perfect chance to pick ourselves up," Solano said. "We have to go to Southampton believing that we can play well and that we can win.
"It will be hard because Southampton are fighting hard to stay in the Premiership, just like West Brom are. But our concern is making sure we finish high enough to qualify for Europe.
"Even though we have ground to make up, we know that it is all in our own hands. If we do well enough in our final few matches, we should be OK. But we know it will be difficult."
Solano, aged 30, has been Villa's most consistent player this season and it was significant that they lost their shape against Albion once he was substituted.
Solano has scored eight goals this season but has not scored since the 3-1 home defeat to Everton on February 26.
"I have been happy with my form this season but I want to score more goals," Solano said.
Whatever happens, the Peruvian will be playing for Villa next season. Reports that he is set to return to Newcastle United have been dismissed by both clubs.