Calum Clark believes Saints have taken a big step forward in the bid to improve the defensive side of their game.
Jim Mallinder’s men held firm at the Liberty Stadium on Sunday, refusing to let Ospreys past in a vital 20-9 Champions Cup victory.
They scrapped until the end to stop the home side scoring a try, preventing the PRO12 leaders from getting a losing bonus point.
And after the sobering 20-7 defeat at Sale eight days earlier, it was a welcome outcome for Saints, who are now level with Racing Metro at the top of Pool 5.
“In the context of the group it was big and in the context of how we judge ourselves it was really important, especially after what happened at Sale,” said Clark.
“We needed to come back and make a big improvement on the performance and it was really pleasing.
“The past three weeks the defence had been poor.
“There were times on Sunday when it still wasn’t as good as it should be, but at the end we held them out and that’s really pleasing.
“We definitely made a step forward.”