Dean Richards praised the Newcastle Falcons fans following his side’s defeat to Leicester Tigers at Kingston Park.
The Falcons made an explosive start to the contest but eventually went down 41-18, a result which many would argue flattered the visitors.
“The fans make a massive difference on occasions like this, and today was no different,” said Newcastle director of rugby Richards.
“It was great to see a big crowd inside Kingston Park and their support was much appreciated,” he added.
Going into the break trailing by just a point at 14-13, Leicester’s quality came to the fore in the second half with man-of-the-match Vereniki Goneva bagging his brace for the afternoon as they ran in four tries to secure the bonus-point win.
“We said at half-time that we were getting absolutely nothing from the referee,” said Richards.
He added: “He was very inconsistent in his decision-making so we had to be squeaky clean and we gave away two silly penalties away which they kicked and that just made it a little more difficult for us.
“We did play some good stuff in the first half and in the right areas of the field and we didn’t do that in the second half.
“You only have to look at the quality of the side we were playing today. They have so many players to call on including those on bench.
“The boys fronted up and I thought we played pretty well. It's just a shame we let it slip in the second half.”