Fluminense defender Carlinhos believes his team must improve their consistency if they are to defend their Brazilian Campeonato title this year.
Flu have started the season in disappointing fashion, winning half of their opening 14 matches and losing the other half.
Victories over Palmeiras, Internacional and Ceara have come in between losses to the likes of Atletico Mineiro and America Mineiro.
Their stuttering start has left them ninth in the table - 12 points behind the leaders - and Carlinhos knows they have to start stringing wins together if they are to challenge for the title again.
"We have to be consistent, winning and then losing does not help. On a couple of occasions we have won two matches and then done nothing. We need to improve this to get into the top four places and to compete for the championship," he said.
"The difficulty is not to be champions, it is to remain champions. Teams have been playing better against us."
Flu's most recent outing saw them lose 3-0 at America Mineiro and they also failed to make an impact in the Copa Libertadores - a tournament they were expected to challenge for.
Carlinhos insists, however, that the drive still exists in the team and thinks they will bounce back against Gremio this weekend.
"We know that they are a tough team who are going through a difficult period but we can beat them," he commented.
"We have had injuries, off field issues, this team has been strong though since avoiding relegation in 2009. We want to be champions but things do not go always as you want."
Meanwhile, in the only midweek match, Corinthians could only draw their game in hand 0-0 at Santos, who were without Neymar and Ganso, both of whom were on international duty.
The point moves Corinthians level with Flamengo at the top of the table, while Santos move up to 14th with two games in hand on almost everyone in the league.