Sam Warburton has emphasised the importance of upcoming Guinness PRO12 fixtures, as Cardiff Blues look to secure qualification to the European Champions Cup.
Danny Wilson’s men sit in seventh place in the championship table, five points adrift of the crucial qualifying spot.
Cardiff Blues travel to Glasgow Warriors on Saturday, hoping to bridge that gap, and Warburton believes it is crucial to pick up a result at Scotstoun Stadium to keep their qualifying hopes alive.
Warburton said: “There is pressure on all our games now. We have been decent at home, but away is where we have to improve.
“It’s a tough away trip and we have to get a win there. If we don’t, then that top six is slowly slipping away.
“We had a good win away at Munster at the start of the season; we have won twice away against the Italian teams and we have often fallen at that hurdle in the past, but if we want to be top six then you have to go to a quality team like Glasgow and pick up a win.
“There will be a big emphasis going up there and putting pressure on ourselves to produce a big performance. Otherwise it is going to be very difficult playing catch-up again.
“If we lose any more than two or three more games we are going to find it very hard to get into that top six.”
Despite a spirited performance, Cardiff Blues fell to a disappointing 15-10 defeat to Scarlets on New Year’s Day.
Warburton, who recently made his 100th regional appearance for Cardiff Blues, believes the derby loss was a set-back, but insists the squad is motivated to finish in the top six in the Guinness PRO12 come the end of the campaign.
“The Scarlets loss was disappointing because it makes that top six harder to get into. Every region was targeting two (wins) from two from the festive derbies.
“It was a tough game, these derbies always are, we got a bonus point out of it, but it wasn’t what we wanted.
“I thought we played okay, it was just a few loose kicks which the Scarlets took advantage of. It does feel like a missed opportunity.
“It is frustrating if we don’t get the qualification this season, it is all we are focusing on.
“The league is a massive priority for us this year, we have been on the edge of the Champions Cup for the last two or three years.
“We have made good signings, from a playing and coaching perspective and we really need to kick on to that next level and get in that top six. It's a huge motivation for the players.”