Tom Wood has told the Saints supporters that the players are hurting just as much as they are.
The club captain gave a typically honest assessment of his side’s troubles after their 41-7 Champions Cup thrashing at Castres.
It was Saints’ fifth defeat in eight matches in all competitions this season, and they are still yet to record back-to-back wins.
The fans who travelled to Castres were left disillusioned by their side’s display as five tries were conceded in one of the worst European showings in recent times.
And when asked what it will be like in Northampton after the Stade Pierre Antoine shocker, Wood said: “It’s tough.
“People have got a lot of access to you these days with things like social media so you’re very aware of everyone’s feelings if things aren’t going so well.
“You’ve got to try to respect it but shut it out to a certain extent because it’s what happens internally that matters.
“We want to do well for the fans, but I think their perception of things is not always accurate.
“They’re frustrated like the rest of us, but it would do everyone well to remember that it hurts us as much as anyone when we don’t perform.
“We’re the ones out there wearing the shirt and we need to look inward this week, do some soul-searching and make sure we find the answers for Friday night (at home to Gloucester) because if we perform like that we’ll lose again.”
Wood was named Saints skipper during the summer, taking over from Lee Dickson.
And when it was put to him that he will have a big role in helping to turn things around at Franklin’s Gardens, he said: “I’ve got to take my share of responsibility, but it’s across the board.
“If a player’s not up for it, there’s not much you can say or do to get them there. It’s a harsh criticism to level because I’m sure individually people felt they were trying hard, but collectively if you’re off the pace by a couple of per cent, you could see there wasn’t that edge.
“Every kick-off that went in the air, you could see there was no collision, there was no fight in the air or on the ground, where they seemed to win every one of them.
“We were loose with the ball in the carry, they were ferocious at the breakdown and if they win the race there, they are big men and you’re not going to shift them.
“We’re not the biggest pack in the world so we have to be very aggressive and mobile but we just didn’t display that here.”
So when did Wood realise Saints weren’t in the game?
“First 15, 20 minutes,” said the flanker.
“Sometimes you do have a slow start to the game, you’re playing against the wind or a team comes out charged up on the back of a kicking they had last week, but sometimes you have to weather that and then build some pressure.
“But when we had that spell where we did have a few lineout opportunities in their territory,we did force Rory Kockott to the bin, which was a real window of opportunity for us, be we didn’t take advantage of it.
“We got a bit of white line fever.”