Pat Lam hailed his side's game management after Bristol Bears bagged a dramatic 26-24 win at Saints on Saturday afternoon.
Piers O'Conor scored a try deep into added time and Ian Madigan kept his cool with the conversion to give Bristol a bonus-point success and leave Saints with just two points from the game.
It dented the black, green and gold's play-off push but enhanced Bristol's chances of competing for a top-six spot.
And Lam was delighted with how his side handled the closing stages of the match, which saw Saints reduced to 11 men after four quickfire yellow cards were handed out by referee Christophe Ridley.
“I thought the last 15 minutes we managed really well," former Saints skipper Lam said. "And that was without Jordan Crane and Charles Piutau.
“Siale Piutau, Steven Luatua, Chris Vui, Callum Sheedy – all the key guys I thought managed it really well.
“It was nine or 10 penalties in that far corner, on any other given day it would have been a penalty try but I thought the composure of the guys and the decision-making at that last scrum was good.
“Mads (Ian Madigan) is world class at goal-kicking and he got us the five points.
"We are five points away from fifth and the top six is a reality for us.”