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Saracens boss Mark McCall admits his team were second-best all over the pitch against Northampton Saints
6:29pm Saturday 26th October 2013 in Sport
Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall admits his team were "well beaten in every area" by Northampton Saints after a humbling 41-20 defeat at Franklins Gardens.
Sarries were well below-par and were duly punished by an impressive Saints side who ran in six tries to close the gap on their rivals to just one point in the Premiership table.
It's the Men in Black's second loss in succession after disappointment last Friday in the Heineken Cup against Toulouse.
"The two performances were very different - the Toulouse performance was of a very high standard and it was a close game against a very good team and we could have won that game," McCall said.
"Today we were beaten in every area by a Saints team who were red hot today but we didn't help ourselves."
He continued: "It was a pretty bad day, I thought they were outstanding - we know when you come down here you have to get the foundations of your game right.
"Their set-piece was well on top today and a lot of the pressure that came from them during the game started there."
Saracens were unusually sloppy at the set-piece and flimsy in defence McCall was particularly disappointed with those parts of his team's performance.
"Our set-piece was poor," he said. "We gave away some really long-range tries as well - we're a very good defensive side but they scored too easily, they scored from more than 15 metres for most of their tries.
"We made a lot individual errors which proved really costly."
He added: "We know their maul can be a weapon down here and it was today, they were able to drive us a long long way.
"We need to fix that for next week - our scrum was particulalry disappointing, I'm not an expert but we fancied that our front row would have done a lot better today."
Sarries endured a bruising encounter against Toulouse and were missing five players who were away on international duty but McCall refused to use either as excuses.
"The missing players is no excuse for us whatsoever," he said. "We were condifent we could come down here and give a much better showing than we did today."
On a potential Toulouse hangover he said: "We had plenty of time, we had a nine-day turnaround.
"Games can get away from you quickly in a place like this. We've seen that before with Northampton against various teams this year.
"They get some momentum and they put teams to bed quickly, they're very good at that - they're playing with a lot of confidence at the moment and they were much better than us today."
McCall said two defeats on the bounce is a cause for concern but is backing his team to bounce back against Newcastle Falcons next weekend.
"Of course it's a cause for concern," he said. "This team hasn't lost two games in a row all that often although it has happened in the last couple of years.
"We just have to make sure we get things right next week and we bounce back from it."
The Sarries boss added that Charlie Hodgson is expected to come back for the match after recovering from an achilles injury.
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