Reece Marshall has stressed to the Saints supporters that their Saturday shocker against Saracens was not due to a lack of effort.
Marshall bagged a try on his first Aviva Premiership start as the black, green and gold went in at half-time just 15-13 down at Franklin's Gardens.
But things unravelled rapidly during the second half, which Saints lost 48-0 during a nine-try 63-13 evisceration at Franklin's Gardens.
Some home fans made the frustrations known to the players during the game, with many supporters heading for the exit doors early.
And there were questions about whether Saints simply switched off after the break.
But hooker Marshall said: "I genuinely don't think it is a lack of effort.
"I know there's a lot of talk from fans saying there's no effort.
"We had someone come past us on the bench, saying 'it's a disgraceful lack of effort', but it's not a lack of effort.
"It's maybe on us to tighten up the game, not lose the ball."
Determined to convey his feelings to the fans, Marshall added: "I'd just say to the fans, we all appreciate them coming week in, week out to support us - we do.
"I want them to keep doing it because every club has their ups and downs.
"In Premiership rugby, you look at teams like Sale and they've picked up and are flying at the moment.
"We've got to stick together: the players, the coaches and the fans - we can't be having fans walking past the bench, saying 'it's a disgrace and a lack of effort' because that's not true at all.
"Everyone puts every effort in when they play a game of rugby."
Several members of the Saints squad will be playing elsewhere next season.
But Marshall insists that is not a reason for the showing against Saracens.
"It's not that at all," said the 23-year-old. "You talk about players who are leaving but they've got to show something to their new coaches.
"Are they turning up, not putting it on the pitch and expecting their new coaches to look at them and think that's what they're signing? Not at all.
"We're sitting in that changing room, it's quiet and it's a head-down situation. Any rugby player will tell you that's what it's like with a scoreline like that.
"We backed ourselves, we trained really well and we did show that in the first half.
"But in the second half, you can't give a team like Sarries that amount of ball because they will punish you.
"And the bench they have as well to bring on, they're like a machine, they keep going at you.
"We've got to be smarter."