Mallinder searching for answers as Saints' slump continues

Jim Mallinder admits Saints are no closer to finding a solution for their current malaise after the 43-32 defeat to Ospreys at Franklin's Gardens on Saturday evening.

Saturday, 9th December 2017, 9:48 pm
Updated Saturday, 9th December 2017, 10:05 pm
Jim Mallinder saw Saints lose at home to Ospreys on Saturday evening (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

Mallinder's men conceded six tries in the opening 60 minutes before grabbing four of their own in the closing stages.

Nic Groom, Rob Horne, Ahsee Tuala and Harry Mallinder added to Dylan Hartley's 52nd-minute effort as Saints threatened a stirring comeback.

But the mountain was far too steep to scale and the green, black and gold have now lost nine of their past 10 matches in all competitions.

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It is a sorry record and when asked whether he is getting closer to finding out why his side are underperforming, Mallinder replied: "No.

"In that last 20 minutes, we saw signs of the Saints of old.

"We were attacking well, running hard, getting the ball out the back at the right time, making some good decisions, but we're not seeing it enough."

Saints lost both Piers Francis and Stephen Myler to injury early in the first half, but Mallinder wasn't prepared to use that as any contributing factor to the defeat.

"We can look at excuses and look at the fly-half situation - it is unlucky to lose your two first-choice fly-halves at the start of a big European match - but generally our game wasn't good enough," he said.

"We conceded too many points, gave ourselves too much to come back from.

"I was really pleased with the spirit in the last 20 minutes because we showed there is a good team in there somewhere, but the first 60 minutes showed a team clearly lacking in confidence.

"We've got some good players there, we've seen players playing well together and we're all asking why we're not playing well."

Mallinder knows Saints are severely lacking confidence.

He said: "Confidence is a massive thing in this sport and we have seen that.

"We can get the messages across but the team have got to do it.

"We said last week we were in a hole and we needed to win this week to get back onto winning ways because there's a long way to go this season and we can't keep losing games."