Kiwi back James Wilson admitted he was mystified by Saints’ lack of enthusiasm during their LV= Cup defeat at Exeter on Saturday.
The Chiefs, who chose to rest a number of first team players, were firing on all cylinders as they clinched a 28-19 win at Sandy Park.
Saints were 22-0 down after 32 minutes, with boss Jim Mallinder admitting after the game they were ‘still in the hotel’.
And Wilson was struggling to find reasons for the lack of intensity during the opening exchanges.
“The big difference was their enthusiasm compared to ours,” said the former Bourgoin player. “You could see that a mile away.
“I don’t know what it was because I thought our build-up was pretty good. Our warm-up was great, actually so I’m not too sure what it was.
“We just weren’t there, from the kick-off. We made some mistakes early on and it really got into our heads. It cost us.”
Saints need to bounce back quickly as they face a crucial Aviva Premiership clash with Gloucester at Franklin’s Gardens on Saturday.
And Wilson believes he and his team-mates can take some positives from the way they fought back during the second half at Exeter.
“It’s tough to walk away from that one and take positives from it,” he admitted. “Full credit to Exeter, they came out and really performed from the first kick-off.
“They were into us straight away and we just couldn’t take it.
“The first half was very poor and we were all really disappointed going into half-time. There were some pretty low heads.
“But we had to pick ourselves up and I though we did come out and get a little bit better in the second half. We can take something from how we came back and cut the deficit.”