Opposition view: Sanderson rues Sharks' sluggish start after defeat at Saints
Sale Sharks boss Alex Sanderson felt a sluggish opening 20 minutes was the key factor in his side's 17-14 defeat to Saints at Franklin's Gardens on Saturday afternoon.
The Sharks did show real fighting spirit as they scored two second-half tries to get Saints nerves jangling.
Chris Boyd's side were under late pressure with the clock in the red but they held out to record a crucial win against a Gallagher Premiership play-off rival.
And Sanderson said: "We lost that game in the first 20 (minutes).
"We had the lion's share of the territory and possession and we didn't capitalise on that, through a lack of composure and a lack of accuracy.
"A lot of the big stuff we got right, such as the field position and the physicality, but you've got to be more accurate against any team, let alone a team like Northampton.
"I just said to the lads that if you get the big things right, if you get the effort right, if you get the physicality then you're always pushing, you're always competing.
"But it's the little things that put the game away and it's the little things today that let us down.
"When we get it right, I feel our set-piece is a weapon, but in that first 20 we didn't."