Tries from Manu Tuilagi, Logovi’i Mulipola, Vereniki Goneva, Adam Thompstone and second-half replacement David Mele (2) gave Tigers a 45-15 win which kept them in fourth place in the Aviva Premiership table with five games remaining.
“We got what we wanted out of the game – first, a good performance, and then the result and the maximum five points. We looked well rested, eager and fresh and that showed in the game,” said director of rugby Cockerill.
“We hit the ground running, starting the game really well. Exeter have had a big couple of weeks which takes its toll physically and mentally. We have had a few weeks to prepare and come back fresh for this game and it was probably a good time to play them.
“I thought that with ball in hand we played as well as we have for a long time.
“This is an important win for us. We needed points to put pressure on sides above us and around us. I’m delighted for the players and for the supporters. The boys put on a good show and a big crowd played a part too.
“It is a good result for us and a good performance after Worcester away and certainly Gloucester at home when we played very poorly. But we won’t get too carried away – there are tough games to come and teams in good form around us.”
Tigers have recorded five successive wins in league action, moving on to 54 points from 17 rounds, level with third-placed Bath. Saracens lead the table on 67, with next week’s opponents Northampton Saints on 64.
“Saints have been in very good form this season,” said Cockerill. “We scraped a draw against them at home earlier in the season but we’ll go there determined to do our best.”