Jim Mallinder admitted Saints were lucky to beat London Irish after some ‘terrible’ accuracy almost cost them dear.
Tries from Ken Pisi and Sam Dickinson, plus five points from the boot of Stephen Myler, secured a 15-9 win that puts Mallinder’s men five points clear of Bath at the top of the Aviva Premiership table.
But struggling Irish threatened to cause a huge upset at Franklin’s Gardens, coming close to a late score that would surely have won them the game.
And though Mallinder was pleased to see his side stretch their lead at the summit, he was far from happy with the performance against the Exiles.
“Clearly the positive is that we’ve won and we’re still top of the league, but the down side is we didn’t play very well,” said the Saints boss.
“We created a lot of chances and a lot of our options were good, but our accuracy was terrible.
“London Irish came, they slowed the game down, they did get stuck into us and it was a gritty away performance by them.
“In the end, we were lucky to win.”