Jim Mallinder refused to criticise Ryan Lamb after the fly-half’s erratic display gave Harlequins a helping hand in their 31-30 win at Franklin’s Gardens.
Lamb endured a torrid first half, with two poor passes gifting Quins wing Sam Smith a brace of tries.
He did kick well from the tee and stepped up his performance in the second half, but wasted a late chance to keep possession as the away side snatched a late try.
Ben Botica’s score and conversion after the clock had gone dead proved crucial as Quins claimed an LV= Cup opening-day win.
But Mallinder was in no mood to lay the blame at the door of any one of his players, and felt Lamb ‘generally had a good game’.
“I’m not going to criticise anybody because it’s not easy, but there were two tries that we didn’t need to concede,” said the Saints boss.
“To overthrow our line-out close to our own line as well on an unopposed throw, we shouldn’t have conceded that.
“They are parts of our game which we will look at and need to cut out.
“Apart from those, Ryan showed some really good touches. His restarts were good, he kicked for goal very accurately and some of his distribution was good.
“Generally he had a good game, but he did make a couple of bad passes.”
Saints had recovered from 21-6 down, but they have now suffered four consecutive defeats in all competitions.
And Mallinder felt basic mistakes were the main reason for the latest reverse.
“They (the mistakes) were stupid really, but even in the first half I thought we played some decent rugby and created quite a lot,” he said.
“But we conceded tries too easily there and they are all of our mistakes, so that’s why it’s so disappointing.”