Jim Mallinder refused to blame a European hangover for Saints’ defeat at Sandy Park.
Instead, he insisted a lack of patience was the culprit for the performance that brought a 21-10 defeat at the hands of Exeter Chiefs.
Saints travelled to the west country hoping to put in a display that would banish memories of the 37-5 Champions Cup quarter-final defeat at Clermont Auvergne eight days earlier.
But Exeter allowed them little comfort, claiming a crucial Aviva Premiership victory thanks to a try in either half and 11 points from the boot of Henry Slade.
And Mallinder said: “This was a completely different game to Clermont.
“Exeter got their defence right, scored from a very good bit of play in the first half and scrummed well.
“It was different to last week when we did get cut apart by an attacking side, but we’re disappointed.
“It was always going to be difficult coming here and we’re disappointed because we actually played quite a lot of good rugby.
“We’ll look at our chances, particularly in the first half, and we got close to their line, but didn’t show any patience and lost the ball.
“It put us under pressure and at 8-5 down at half-time we thought we’d done well, but we couldn’t get out of our half and made some silly decisions.”
Saints’ chances were hit by three sin-binnings, with Calum Clark, Stephen Myler and Alex Waller all yellow carded by referee Wayne Barnes.
And Mallinder, whose side now sit six points clear at the top of the Aviva Premiership table with three games to go, said: “They (yellow cards) come from the way that you play.
“We were missing touch, putting ourselves under pressure and not clearing our lines when we had the chance to.
“It creates pressure and that’s when you lose people to yellow cards.
“We’ll be looking at all that and I thought that when we were down, we defended really well, particularly at the end of the first half, to keep them out.”