Opposition view: Diamond delighted with Sale's defending against Saints
Sale Sharks boss Steve Diamond was delighted with the way his side dealt with Saints at the AJ Bell Stadium on Saturday.
The Sharks stepped things up after half-time to record a 22-10 Gallagher Premiership success on home soil.
Saints, who had gone into the game sitting top of the league standings, failed to score a single point during the second half.
"Against a side that have been playing well all season and have scored more tries than anybody, I think we managed to look after them in defence quite well," Diamond said.
"We know they're good in the first two or three phases, they scored that try where we missed a one-on-one tackle but, apart from that, I thought we handled them quite well."
Despite a frustrating start to the campaign, which saw Sale struggle to find their rhythm, this was a much improved effort and Diamond believes that they have the quality to compete at the right end of the Premiership.
"I think we've got a squad to operate at the top end of the division," he said.
"We're missing our locks with Lood (de Jager) and (Josh) Beaumont injured but we seem to have weathered that storm.
"We're touching the top-four today and top-four at Christmas was always a little bit of a target.
"We go to Bath next week and who knows where we can be in the next fortnight."
The only disappointment for the Sharks came in their inability to claim the try bonus-point, which left Diamond frustrated, but the director of rugby hopes that this victory can kick-start a good run of form.
He added: "We had a similar position last year where we beat Bristol here, beat Gloucester away and Saracens at home. We've got two home games and an away game again.
"We'll put all our endeavours into our night out, have a good time and watch Bath on Sunday, before we go down there."