Ludlam insists Saints have the quality to compete with top sides
Lewis Ludlam insists that Saints have the players to beat the Gallagher Premiership's top teams.
But the skipper admits 'the top two inches' are currently letting his team down.
Saints are currently on a four-game losing streak in all competitions, having suffered a 30-6 defeat to Saracens at cinch Stadium at Franklin's Gardens on Sunday.
Chris Boyd' s side were level at 6-6 at the break, having bossed territory and possession, but they fell away in the second half and saw their top-four bid take another hit.
Ludlam admitted it was tough to take, but he is adamant that the Saints squad does possess the quality needed to push for a play-off place in the Premiership this season.
"It was a really tough one to swallow," Ludlam said.
"It's really easy to hang your hat on effort but it's been the same message in the past three games in terms of not being good enough at the top two inches.
"We haven't switched on in periods of the game and once a team like Sarries gain momentum on you, it's really hard to get control back.
"The effort's there always - there's no shortage of effort in this team - it's just that top two inches that are consistently letting us down at the moment."
Saints go to Newcastle Falcons on Saturday.
And Ludlam added: "We're not down and out.
"It would be easy to roll over if we didn't think we had the quality in this side, but there's no shortage of that.
"There's no shortage of effort, no shortage of outstanding players.
"It's all there for us and the answers are all in that changing room.
"We're not losing because teams have got better individuals than us, we're just not clicking and we're not switched on enough at the moment.
"In that sense, there's something to be optimistic about but we've got to learn our lessons really quickly."