Dean Richards spoke of his frustration at only taking a losing bonus point from Saracens on Saturday as his Newcastle Falcons side fell 22-17.
The Director of Rugby highlighted the line-out as a key battleground despite out-scoring last season's Premiership finalists three tries to one, saying: “Our first phase, especially our line-outs, didn't work that well.
“It was probably down to our decision-making. We know what works well and what doesn't and we should have stuck with what we know works.
"Having said that we scored three tries to one, but that decision-making from a line-out point of view just meant we spent most of the second half inside our own territory. It made it very difficult for us to get out, but I thought the boys were outstanding overall.”
Richards added: “We have got a winning mentality and we should have won today. Little things make a big difference, and had we got 20% more ball from our line-out I think we would have won. But we didn't, and it cost us dear.
“That said, there were a huge amount of positives. Our defence was outstanding, the boys were up for it, brave, Alesana Tuilagi scored a superb try and the two from the rolling maul were really well-taken.
“Our defence of their maul was superb despite having a lot of people out injured, and still we turned in a performance. I know Sarries have guys missing as well, but they can bring in like for like. We stood up to that test, and that was the pleasing part.”
Acknowledging the progress made by his side despite victory eluding them in North London, Richards said: “We are competitive with top-four sides now. We drew with Wasps and got a bonus point at Saracens on a day when we scored three tries to their one. We've just got to start nailing the results now.
“We're not losing by much and the boys are getting disappointed rather than accepting it, which is a change from where we were a few years ago. It's a case of going out there and saying forget the disappointment, go and get some wins and enjoy that feeling.”