Saints must cope better without 'pretty big cavalry', says boss Boyd
Chris Boyd says Saints have got to be able to cope better without their big-name stars.
The black, green and gold have suffered back-to-back defeats, all but ending their hopes of finishing in the Gallagher Premiership top four this season.
Saints are 11 points adrift of fourth-placed Harlequins with just three games to go.
And that situation will spark real disappointment for everyone at Franklin's Gardens, given where the team was earlier this month.
Saints came into May having just won against Leicester Tigers at Welford Road and hopes were high of a strong finish to the campaign.
But a hugely disappointing 31-7 home defeat to Gloucester was to follow, and salt was rubbed in the wounds with an 18-10 loss at Newcastle Falcons on Monday night.
Saints have undoubtedly been hampered by the fact that they haven't been able to call on the likes of Courtney Lawes and Nick Isiekwe in recent weeks.
And they also lost the likes of Alex Mitchell, Dan Biggar and Piers Francis to injuries, with those players not playing any part at Kingston Park.
However, Boyd is keen to avoid using that as an excuse for the defeats that have derailed Saints' season.
"Like all teams, when we take five or six of our best players out due to injury, we might struggle for depth," Boyd said.
"We've got some pretty big cavalry that hasn't played for us in the past two or three weeks and that hasn't helped, but you've got to be able to get past missing your marquee players.
"I don't think there's any issue for me around failing to perform under pressure or anything like that.
"We had a good three months and then two poor performances which has ultimately killed off our hopes."
The only real positive from Monday night at Newcastle was that fans were finally allowed in to watch for the first time since December.
And Saints will prepare to welcome as many as 4,000 supporters to their upcoming home games against Wasps and Exeter Chiefs.
"It was great to have crowds back, great for everybody," Boyd said.
"It was good to get some atmosphere and obviously great for the people at Newcastle that their team came home, but it was a massively disappointing night for us."