Warriors Director of Rugby Dean Ryan insists the play-offs will come down to fine margins.
After seeing his Warriors edged 30-26 by Bristol at Sixways to finish the regular Greene King IPA Championship campaign, the boss believes everybody from both teams and the officials will have a big role to play in determining the outcome of the play-offs.
He said: “We’re pretty angry in the changing room with ourselves. All credit to Bristol who finish top of the pile.
“We looked really smart and it was great to be in a proper chess match contest. We started to edge it but played 20 with 14 men and also lost Pennell, replaced by Mulchrone – who I thought was fantastic at full-back.
“But let’s get on with the next competition which is the one that’s been sat over everyone’s shoulders for the last nine months.
“Let’s just make sure we understand every small margin and that includes the people that officiate as they’ll play a part.”
The Warriors chief admitted he felt his side could’ve gone on to kill-off Bristol when they were leading 20-10.
But sin-bins to Cooper Vuna and Jonathan Thomas hit the Sixways side.
Ryan added: “We had control of the game. At 20-10 one more try and I thought we could break it but we didn’t get it.
“With Vuna and Pennell missing our whole backfield coverage was gone so we ended up doing some firefighting.
“It just shows that if those things happen in a play-off game then potentially nine months go down the pan.
“We’ve played 160 minutes against Bristol and it’s been a one-score difference both times. Therefore the play-offs will be tight and the tiny margins will be so important.”
Warriors will travel to London Scottish on Saturday 2 May (ko 1.45pm) for the first leg of the semi-finals before facing them at Sixways on Friday 8 May (ko 7.45pm).
And Ryan knows his team will face a stern challenge from the in-form side.
He explained: “Play-offs are a separate competition. We’ll start from 0-0 and we’ll have to go and play against the form side of the other two in the play-offs.
“Every second and every minute of decisions and actions will play a part.”