First-half tries from Alesana Tuilagi, Scott Hamilton and Martin Castriogovanni thrilled the Welford Road crowd and George Chuter added the bonus-point score in the second half to maintain Tigers’ place at the top of the Guinness Premiership.
“We’ve had a tough week physically and mentally after the defeat at Northampton and we were looking forward to getting back here,” said Cockerill.
“To score four tries and stay top of the table is fantastic for us.
“I thought we were really good, especially in the first half. Scott Hamilton’s try is the best we’ve scored this season and the first half was probably our best half of the season so far.
“I’m delighted with the five points and the four tries against a very good team. It is just what we needed after last week.”
The Tigers players came through a tough week’s training in the wake of defeat by nearest rivals Northampton and they earned their rewards on Saturday.
“The forwards went outside for 40 minutes on Tuesday and came in an hour and 45 minutes later,” Cockerill said. “That was the starting point for the forwards this week. The players worked really hard and their attitude has been fantastic.”
Guinness man of the match Castrogiovanni, who earned a huge ovation following his interception try during the first half, said: “We did not play well last week at Northampton and we needed to come back home and turn up physically, and that is what we did.
“It was a hard week for us after a big defeat. We worked hard this week and tried to do our best and I think we did that.”
Head coach Cockerill reserved some special praise for young second-rower Calum Green who came into the team after injury to Ben Kay and played a prominent role, notably in starting the move that led to Hamilton’s eye-catching score.
“Calum is a real grafter, he doesn’t get fazed by anything,” Cockerill said. “He was up against two very good lineout forwards today and I’m really pleased for him. It’s another step in his development.”