'A lot more to come from us', says Sale boss Sanderson ahead of Saints clash
Sale Sharks boss Alex Sanderson believes there is much more to come from his side as they prepare to face Saints at Franklin's Gardens on Saturday afternoon (kick-off 2.45pm).
The Sharks have won back-to-back matches, against Exeter Chiefs and Newcastle Falcons putting them fourth in the Gallagher Premiership table with 12 games played.
Fifth-placed Saints are currently five points behind the Sharks, who appointed Sanderson as boss in January following the departure of Steve Diamond.
"I wonder if I’m still in the honeymoon period, because everything I’m looking at and feeling is seemingly rose-tinted at the moment," Sanderson said.
"I’m really enjoying the group of players and coaches I am working with, culturally we are more aligned than I thought we would be.
"It’s a team that physically speak my language, and I knew that coming in.
"Their efforts against Newcastle, albeit ill-disciplined at times, couldn’t have made me prouder.
"The boys just love ripping in and banging teams and that is in harmony with a lot of my philosophies as a coach and was the way I played the game too, so the squad already have a lot of the qualities I respect.
"That’s made it easy to fit into an already well-established environment and I think it surprised me how seamless the transition was.
"I think performance-wise there is still a lot more to come, of course I don’t think I would have had it cracked by eight weeks, but I hoped I would see the signs of how dangerous we could be.
"Being clinical with our attack and showing how physical we could be in defence and how much pressure we could exert on our opposition with our line speed.
"I think we saw good examples of that at the weekend, along with an improvement in our set piece, so we’re getting there."
Sale beat Newcastle 31-16 at the AJ Bell Stadium last weekend to boost their play-off ambitions.
But Sanderson is not satisfied with simply sitting fourth in the standings.
"There’s no pressure to stay in the top four as we are only just mid-way through the season, and we know that," he said.
"I think every team who is in the comp with aspirations like us want to be top, and that’s where the pressure comes.
"We want to be top of the league, not fourth. We do that by building consistency in our performance and that has been reflected over the past two weeks.
"Alongside that we need to establish consistency in training, because through my experience that transfers into a consistent performance at the weekend."