Boss Mallinder salutes 'resilient' Saints squad

Jim Mallinder says his players have shown resilience this week (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
Jim Mallinder says his players have shown resilience this week (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

If Jim Mallinder has the weight of the Saints nation on his shoulders right now, he certainly isn't showing it.

The Saints boss was upbeat at this week's Franklin's Gardens media session, stressing a desire for improvement and insisting there is an abundance of resilience in the camp.

Mallinder knows the only way to quell the criticism that he, his fellow coaches and his players have been receiving of late is to start winning games.

Saints have lost eight of their past nine in all competitions and the lone victory, against the lowly Dragons in the Anglo-Welsh Cup, did little to sate the appetite for success.

A run of five successive Aviva Premiership losses has ramped up the pressure to its highest point since Mallinder took charge of Saints during the summer of 2007.

But the director of rugby, who saw his side concede a late try in a 24-22 defeat to Newcastle Falcons last Friday, still managed to smile for large parts of his interview ahead of Saturday's Champions Cup home game against the Ospreys.

"Naturally, straight after last weekend's game there was massive disappointment," Mallinder said. "It was a game we should have won.

"We've had a tough three weeks, two away games (against Worcester and Sale), but Newcastle at home was a game we should have won.

"We've looked at it and half a dozen times we got over the line, but we didn't manage to score enough tries and enough points, which ultimately cost us in the end.

"We're very, very disappointed, but the lads, fair credit to them, have come in, been buzzing and trained really well.

"They're quite resilient and they know the position we're in, which is not a good position.

"Clearly when you lose so many games like we have, everybody gets put under pressure.

"I'm at the top of that, I'm responsible for the team and I'm responsible for the team playing well and winning games."

What Mallinder and Co would do for a win this week.

Saints currently sit bottom of Champions Cup Pool 2, having been beaten heavily by Saracens and Clermont Auvergne.

But Ospreys have also lost both their matches so far.

"A little bit like us, they're struggling for some consistency," Mallinder said.

"Similar to us, they've lost their first two Champions Cup games and they'll be looking to come here and kick-start their campaign.

"We'd love to win our next four games in the competition.

"It's going to be difficult to progress in the competition after losing in the first two rounds, but it's very important we come out and put in a performance to get confidence in the team and the way we play.

"Hopefully we'll give the crowd something to get behind and something to cheer."