Steve Borthwick admitted the “damage was done” after a slow start against Sale Sharks on Friday night at AJ Bell Stadium.
Speaking post-match, following the 26-10 defeat to the high-flying Sharks, the Leicester Tigers head coach said: “We got our way back in to the game in the second-half, which I was pleased with, but the damage was done unfortunately.”
“We gave away nine penalties tonight and six of those we conceded in the first ten minutes.
“Credit to the Sale Sharks tonight, especially in that first ten minutes, they were very good.”
While disappointed with the result, Borthwick did come away from the Round 18 fixture “proud” of the young Tigers outfit who travelled north to take on the second-placed Sharks.
“I am really proud of the effort tonight,” said Borthwick.
“Sale are a very good team, who are a team filled with quality players and up towards the top of the Premiership table … and I am proud of the effort this young side put in tonight, I cannot question that from them.
“We finished the match with five players in the pack who are 21 or under, including all three of our front-rowers, which is vital experience for them.”
Borthwick also believes he took his own learnings from the game but made clear he was not searching for excuses.
“I learned a lot about players, especially how they came through the difficult situations,” said Borthwick before adding: “But, the fact we put ourselves in those situations is disappointing.”
“Ultimately we want to get better. But, even if we are improving, we always want to win games because, for too long, this club developed a losing habit and we need to change that.”
Tigers return to Mattioli Woods Welford Road in Round 19 to take on Harlequins, which Borthwick said is now the sole focus for the group.
“We now just switch straight on to the game against ‘Quins next Saturday and will do what we have to do to be the best prepared team for that match.”
Leicester Tigers joined fellow Gallagher Premiership clubs in supporting Restart Round during this round by dedicating this weekend’s fixture to players’ mental health.