"I'm kind of caught between the devil and the deep blue sea, but we can't back off now," said de Villiers ahead of crucial back-to-back clashes with Australia over the coming fortnight.
"In playing total rugby, there is going to be a fear factor. But we have to make sure we control other areas as well.
"We're at 60% of where we want to be so we have to bite the bullet and see if we can get there."
De Villiers has also rubbished any suggestion that he is under increasing pressure following allegations of 'whitening down' the Springboks after replacing Ricky Januarie and Conrad Janties with Fourie du Preez and Percy Montgomery for last Saturday's defeat to the All Blacks.
The former Baby Boks coach has been accused of ignoring the transformation process at a time when a number of public officials have called for a Springbok side more representative of the nation as a whole.
"I was appointed to make rugby decisions," said de Villiers.
"I promised to be honest and focus on rugby. We never said it was going to be a perfect world.
"If you look at the Bible, Joseph started out in the pit and ended up in the palace.
"We are never going to take our eye off our goal. If we are distracted by small things how the devil can we win a test?"