Jim Mallinder didn’t feel the scoreline reflected the performance as Saints slipped to a 28-6 defeat at Wasps on Sunday afternoon.
Two Rob Miller tries and one from Jamie Stevenson secured a crucial Aviva Premiership win for the in-form home side at the Ricoh Arena.
Saints enjoyed plenty of possession and territory, especially during the first period, but they could only muster two Stephen Myler penalties.
And Wasps eventually took the game away from them, leaving Mallinder’s men four points adrift of fourth-placed Leicester Tigers with three regular-season games to go.
“I think the first half was close, we did create a few opportunities but we just couldn’t keep hold of the ball enough,” Saints boss Mallinder said.
“We were aware of Wasps’ threats and every time you do turn the ball over or kick badly to them they have got that calibre of player to cut you open.
“It was fairly close going into that second half – 13-6 down and a couple of big opportunities; one where we had a scrum penalty and unfortunately Lee Dickson thought it was a free-kick and tapped and went.
“We then got turned over, we lost field position. Combine that with losing your scrum-half (Dickson was forced off with a head injury) and we really struggled then in that last 20 minutes.
“It was a close game and I don’t think the score really reflected the performance.”