Stephen Myler says Saints must win at Exeter on Saturday.
The fly-half believes victory is essential with his side currently sitting sixth in the Aviva Premiership standings.
Exeter are just a place and a point behind in seventh, with the race for the play-offs looking likely to go to the wire.
Saints are two points outside the top four with 10 games to go, but with Gloucester, London Wasps and the Chiefs also in the running every point is vital.
And Myler, who was agonisingly close to sealing victory against Saracens last Sunday, seeing his last-minute penalty hit the bar in the 17-16 defeat, knows how important this weekend’s game is.
“I would say it’s a must win, similar to last year when we went down there (and won 18-15),” said Myler.
“The top half of the table is pretty congested so a couple of wins or losses and people can move about.
“We’re not too worried about where we were and where we are now and there are opportunities to move up the table, which is a good thing.
“It comes down to us and we’re under no illusions that Exeter’s going to be a very difficult place to play. We found that last year when we managed to scrape the win and we’re going to need to do that again.”
Myler’s showing against Saracens last weekend, when he landed four of his five attempts, helped stake his claim for the No.10 shirt further.
But the 28-year-old knows he must keep performing to a high level if he is to continue keeping Ryan Lamb out of the side.
“I always speak to the coaches about what they want from me and what they want from the team and my focus is on doing that to the best that I can,” said the former rugby league player.
“I’m pretty confident in my ability and I feel like I’ve been pretty successful at this club when I’ve been given a long run with the shirt.
“My focus is just on performing the best that I can. I don’t make the decisions but I do control what I do on the field, so that’s all I can do really.”