Bath boss Mike Ford admits Saints will ‘take some catching’ in the bid to claim the Aviva Premiership’s top spot.
Ford’s side surrendered a 10-0 lead to lose 21-13 to Jim Mallinder’s men at The Rec on Saturday.
Tries from James Wilson and Mike Haywood, plus 11 points from the boot of Stephen Myler, secured the Saints win.
It meant the champions stretched their lead at the top of the table to nine points.
And Ford, whose side remain second, said: “They played well. They’re a very experienced side. I thought their away tactics were very good and they strangled the life out of us in that second half.
“It showed why they’re the champions and probably why we didn’t get into the top four last year.
“They’ve been together a long time, got great coaching staff and although both teams were missing players, they seemed a bit more experienced than us, especially in key areas.
“Any time we got good ball in good areas in that second half we didn’t make use of it, we squandered it.
“They just killed the game off then. They’re a very experienced side.
“We’re disappointed that we lost to Saracens and now we’ve lost to Northampton. We got no points in both games, but we’re still second.
“I don’t think it’s over but Northampton will take some catching because they’ll have to lose at least two for us to be level with them.”