Fijian wing Vereniki Goneva scored twice in the first half but Tigers required a late penalty from skipper Toby Flood to seal a 23-22 victory which preserved a place in the race for play-off places.
“We made hard work of it but I thought Worcester played very well, it was probably their best performance of the season,” said Tigers director of rugby Cockerill. “Credit to Dean Ryan and his team for that.
“They defended well, they carried well, they put us under pressure, they kicked their goals and they made it an arm-wrestle – and a very tight one. We did well to get out of it with the four points.
“We could have lost but we didn’t because we worked hard, the attitude was great and we deserved the win in the end.”
Goneva took his try tally for the season to seven while Flood kicked the other 13 points, but Tigers just couldn’t shake off a Warrior team chasing a first league win of the season.
“When you create three, four or five chances in the first half and only take a couple, they are still within a score and there is always a danger,” added Cockerill.
“We did some great things in the first half and probably should have had more points on the board. Niki did well for the interception try and the lead-up and the execution for the second try was really good. We had enough to get the win, take the four points and we move on.
“We were a little bit disjointed. Ben Youngs and Ed Slater only came back to us for team run on Thursday and then straight into the game, and Logo Mulipola hasn’t played for 13 weeks with a calf injury. It was good to get him back and he will be better for the 60 minutes on the pitch.
“Now we have a longer turnaround and a good training week ahead of Gloucester next Sunday.”
Tigers host Gloucester at Welford Road at 2pm on Sunday. Tickets are available now. Call in at the ticket office, phone 0844 856 1880 or book online.