A try from Ed Slater, four penalties from Toby Flood and a last-gasp drop goal from skipper Geordan Murphy made Tigers the first Aviva Premiership visitors to win at Vicarage Road since October 2010.
“If we’d lost we would be under a huge amount of pressure in the league table,” said Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill after seeing the team bounce back from defeat at Exeter Chiefs last week to take four points from a 20-19 victory over Saracens.
“We have been playing okay, we’ve been in relatively good form, but today was massive for us. The mentality for the whole squad, of those players to step up and get us the win, gives us a huge boost.
“The attitude of the players was outstanding. They all wanted to play well for each other, for the shirt and for the club.
“The spirit of the guys to keep going and play for the win, even in the last minute of the game when we started in our own half, was excellent.
“We went 26 or 27 phases of play at the end to set up the drop goal and that effort was fantastic.”
While acknowledging the efforts of the whole squad, Cockerill still had particular praise for skipper Murphy in his 299th first-team appearance for the club.
“Geordan was instrumental this week, he led the players’ meetings and spoke a few home truths to the guys,” Cockerill said.
“He played a captain’s part, so it was fitting for him to step up and take that kick to win it because he led the week and fronted up.
“He has done what the Leicester greats do and that is lead from the front.”
Tigers return to home soil this weekend with a Round 16 fixture against Newcastle Falcons. Kick-off is at 3pm and tickets are available now.