Calum Clark says Saints’ start to the season has been ‘unacceptable’.
And the flanker has warned that they will get hammered if they start to feel sorry for themselves in the Champions Cup opener against Montpellier this evening.
Saints have won just two of their opening six Aviva Premiership matches, sitting ninth with just 11 points to their name.
They now take a break from domestic action as the European campaign gets under way, with today’s Franklin’s Gardens game against Montpellier followed by a trip to Castres a week later.
And Clark said: “We’re very harsh critics of ourselves and it’s not been acceptable.
“I’ve personally got a lot of work to do, and we’ve got a lot of work to do as a team, too.
“There’s no breaks, it doesn’t get any easier this week, but it’s a challenge we need.
“You can’t afford to feel sorry for yourselves against a team like this because if you do, you’ll get hammered.”
Clark has started the past two matches after returning from a shoulder injury that saw him sidelined for the entirety of last season.
The 2014/15 players’ and supporters’ player of the year is delighted to be back in action, but he insists he still has plenty of improving to do.
“I’m pretty grateful to have come through what I did last year,” said the 27-year-old.
“It was tough. Injuries are tough, but it’s part of the game and most players have to go through it.
“It was a tough year.
“The nature of the injury, I’m not sure what was going on and it was a really difficult process to deal with.
“It’s one of those things, it’s part of the game.
“I’m a very harsh critic of myself, but it is what it is, two games back after a year out.
“I’ve got to deal with it and get back to being better.
“With the team, it’s the same.”
Clark made his comeback in the nail-biting win against Exeter at the Gardens a couple of weeks ago.
And he revelled in the support he received from the Saints faithful.
“The fans were great when I made my return,” Clark said.
“I’m very thankful for the welcome back they gave me.
“It was nice to mark my return and their support with a win that night (against Exeter).”