Richard Cockerill says Leicester’s win against Saints was ‘a bit awkward all round’.
The Tigers boss praised his side’s local rivals for putting up a real fight in the Welford Road clash.
And he was happy to see his men get the job done, with their 22-14 victory enough to secure a top-four spot at the expense of Exeter Chiefs.
Saints made 12 changes for the clash, with Jim Mallinder eager to keep his powder dry for Saturday’s play-off semi-final against Saracens at Franklin’s Gardens.
But they were 9-8 up at half-time before Tigers finally found their feet to secure the victory they so badly needed.
“Fair play to Saints, they played well,” said Cockerill.
“We always knew they would be committed and we never quite got away from them enough.
“It was a scrappy game, but it was job done and I’m not going to be critical of our boys. We did what we needed to.
“It would have been nice if the scrum was refereed a bit better, but Saints were good, they worked hard and they made us work hard.
“There were some good performances from their guys, we did enough to win and it was a bit awkward all round really, but we’ll take it.
“We play the semi next week, as they do, and we’ll see what happens.”