Ben Nutley admits Saints are ‘under the cosh’ – but believes he and his team-mates’ can prove their critics wrong.
Northampton slipped down to sixth in the Aviva Premiership thanks to a 27-11 home defeat to Gloucester last weekend.
It was their second successive loss and their sixth of the league season so far, leaving them with plenty to do in the race for the play-off semi-finals.
And young flanker Nutley, whose performance was one of the few shining lights last Saturday, knows Saints must do better when they go to Worcester on Saturday.
“I know we’ve said it before, but we’re not far off,” he said.
“We’ve got to look at ourselves as a team and individuals and focus on how we need to get better.
“In training we look good all week and we come to the game and it’s not all there, so we need to be looking at ourselves, but it will come and hopefully that will start this week.
“We’re under the cosh now. We’ve got to make that top four because it’s the last competition we’re in.
“We have faith in ourselves even if everyone else is knocking us. It’s going to be a challenge, but we’re looking forward to it.”
Saints boss Jim Mallinder blamed a lack of confidence for his side’s struggle against Gloucester last Saturday.
But Nutley knows belief is bred by winning and he is tipping his team-mates to bely their top four underdog tag in the coming weeks.
“When you’re winning the confidence is high,” said the You know that from teams like Quins and Ulster.
“But we’ve gone to Ulster and won when they were unbeaten and all the games against the top four have been (lost) by one score, so we’re not far off.
“Obviously we’ve just got to be better and the only people who can change it is us. We’re the underdogs now, but we believe we can do it.”