Glasgow Warriors forwards coach John Dalziel has conceded that the next month could be make or break for the team so far as the 2019-20 season is concerned.

It comes after the Scotstoun outfit slumped to their fifth defeat in nine outings in all competitions so far this season when they were humbled at home by Leinster on Saturday night.

This has been the Warriors' worst start to a season in nine years, leaving them stranded in fourth place in Guinness PRO14 Conference B – 18 points behind Leinster at the summit of the table and six points adrift of Toyota Cheetahs, who currently occupy the third play-off qualifying slot.

In the Champions Cup, they are third in Pool 2 after a scrappy win at home against Sale Sharks was followed up with a fairly comprehensive defeat on the road to Stuart Hogg’s Exeter Chiefs.

It is a far from ideal situation, but Dalziel has pointed out it is still early days and the Warriors’ destiny remains in their own hands in both competitions, so long as they find a bit of form soon that allows them to start picking up results – starting against La Rochelle at the Stade Marcel Deflandre this coming Saturday.

“Europe means a lot to a lot of people,” he said. “For both teams, it’s kind of last-chance saloon because we’ve both got to try to get a result.

“We’ve got to go to an intimidating atmosphere with a sell-out home crowd.

"They had a big win last weekend and jumped up a few places in the French league, so they’ll be in confident mood.

"But we’ve got a lot of lads who’ve played international rugby against France over there, so we know the psyche and mentality that it takes to perform over there.

“It’s an experienced group of players we have, nobody is losing confidence in each other. We’re more determined than ever to turn it around this weekend.”

The Warriors will then play their return match against La Rochelle on Saturday, December 14, before facing their traditional Christmas double-header against arch-rivals Edinburgh at Scotstoun on the 21st and Murrayfield on the 28th.

Glasgow have tended to struggle in these inter-city derbies in recent times, winning the 1872 Cup [awarded to the team with the best aggregate score over the series] only once in the last five years, and Dalziel says the side know they will have to buck that trend this season.

“The next four weeks will be huge,” he said. “We will know a lot more about ourselves and what we need to do at the end of that.

“At this time of the year, Glasgow are usually up at the top of the league and players have maybe been complacent in games around Christmas. That complacency won't be there now as it's a different picture for us. We need wins in the league to get up into the top three.

“The season goes on until June and we want to be in there come the play-offs. To do that we have to be in the top three but we're not at the moment. We need a good spell of games.

“You want to win every game you play, especially at home,” he continued. “It’s pretty full-on at the moment. We’re in a spell of the season where the big games are coming thick and fast.

“As players and coaches, there was a bit of soul-searching after the game last weekend. "You look at some of the stats and think, ‘How have we actually lost that game?’.

“We did a lot of good things and, individually, there were some really big performances from some of our guys in terms of tackles and carries, so the endeavour is certainly there.

"We just need to hit it this weekend with the clarity of where our shortfalls are, and I think we’ve nailed that. We’ll look to improve.”

A particular concern is that, while the Warriors have shown in recent weeks they are capable of starting games well, they are not quite so good at keeping their foot on the accelerator as the match progresses.

“We are starting games very well and we are seeing the free-flowing rugby we are known for, but opposition teams are always going to have periods in the game.

"If that’s going to be around that middle period, then we need to look at how we manage that better," said Dalziel.

“The buzz is still very much there among the boys. Nobody is panicking. We know it’s going to come, but it needs to come quite quickly so that we’re not leaving ourselves too much to do.”