Geordan Murphy praised the way a Leicester Tigers squad affected by illness all week got back to winning ways in the first game since his appointment as head coach was confirmed.
Tigers claimed four tries in a 35-24 victory over Harlequins in Round 10 of the Gallagher Premiership season, and Murphy revealed it had been a difficult week with training schedules compromised by illness in the squad.
“About half the squad was poorly and quite a few of the staff as well,” he said. “We shut up shop on Wednesday afternoon and it hasn’t been the most productive week in training.
“There were colds and tonsillitis and flu, all sorts. On the day, only one missed out on playing, but a lot of them were struggling during the week. We had quite a few down and didn’t want to infect the rest of the squad so we cancelled training. Those guys did brilliantly, they all wanted to play.
“We talked about it before, it is an excuse but we don’t want excuses. The boys did their best and we came out on the right side.”
A double from wing Jonah Holmes set Tigers on their way in the first half, with England duo Manu Tuilagi and Jonny May adding further scores after the break while George Ford kicked the rest of the points in an impressive all-round performance.
“I thought at times we looked really sharp,” added Murphy. “We played with a good tempo and then in the first 10 or 15 minutes of the second half, when they had us on the ropes a bit, we stood up well in defence.
“We'd have liked to put it to bed a bit earlier and it was disappointing to concede the try right at the end, but we're happy with the result.
"The crowd was excellent too, I love it when the place gets going and we gave them something to cheer today.”
Victory ended a run of eight successive defeats in all competitions as Tigers kicked off the three-game block of Christmas and New Year fixtures.
"A lot of people forget we had three Premiership Cup games in that run where we deliberately went with a very young side,” added Murphy. “Then we had two games in the league without our internationals, we had 14 or 15 away, and had a really poor performance at Bristol. Then we went back-to-back with Racing, one of the best teams in Europe. So it was a tough run so it was all about getting a result today and a performance we could be proud of.”
Tigers go to Bath in Round 11 on Sunday and then host Gloucester at Welford Road on Saturday, January 5. Tickets are available now.