Dickens won't fault Saints' work rate after Quins defeat
Interim head coach Alan Dickens insists a lack of confidence rather than a lack of effort is to blame for Saints' current shortcomings after the 50-21 defeat to Harlequins.
The green, black and gold were tormented for the second time in as many visits to Twickenham this season as they shipped seven tries.
They had lost 55-24 to Saracens at English rugby HQ on the opening day of the Aviva Premiership season and in the final game of the calendar year, there were similar scenes.
Saints were pulled apart by a Harlequins team who had won just one of their past six games in all competitions.
And when asked about his team's display and desire, Dickens said: "I can't ask any more from them in the training week.
"The players work very, very hard, week in, week out.
"In the game, I put it down to confidence. They score a couple of tries and our heads go down.
"I've been asked about the formula and what we need to do, but to get the confidence we need to win and then we can kick on."
Saints have now suffered 12 defeats in their past 13 games in all competitions, losing seven successive league matches.
And Dickens said: "It's tough to watch.
"It's the second time we've come here this season and the game's gone by half-time.
"We lost the first half 31-0. The second half was 21-19 to us, but it was too little, too late.
"Against Exeter, I saw some steps forward, especially in terms of intensity, but this week was a backward step."
When asked for his message to the Saints supporters who travelled to Twickenham to watch their team, Dickens said: "I'm as disappointed as they are.
"I feel for them and it's not through lack of effort."