Mallinder won't get caught up in criticism at Saints

Jim Mallinder has seen his side lose eight of their past nine matches (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
Jim Mallinder has seen his side lose eight of their past nine matches (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

Jim Mallinder says he doesn't get caught up in the criticism swirling around Saints after recent poor performances.

And the director of rugby fully believes he and his coaching team can turn things around at Franklin's Gardens.

Saints suffered a last-gasp 24-22 defeat to Newcastle Falcons last Friday as their recent woes deepened.

Mallinder's men have lost five successive league matches and eight of their past nine games in all competitions.

Criticism of the current regime has intensified in recent weeks, with supporters taking to social media to vent their frustrations.

But Mallinder is keeping his cool ahead of this evening's Champions Cup clash with the Ospreys at the Gardens (kick-off 5.30pm).

"You always back yourself, back the coaching team and back the team that are playing," the Saints boss said.

"I know we've got the quality here and the team that can turn up on Saturday and get a very good win.

"I try not to worry too much about that (pressure).

"I try to worry just about the team performance - that's the main thing because you can't affect anything else.

"It's about how the team play and that's what I've got to put all my energy into, and the other coaches have got to put all their energy into preparing the team properly and make sure the team does better than what we've been doing."

When asked whether he has had conversations with the Saints board of late, Mallinder said: "I always do that, win or lose.

"We've got a very clear communication with the board, with the chief exec so we know what position we're in.

"I don't get too caught up in everything that goes on out there - what I do concern myself with is how we perform. That's the main thing and that's what we're doing."

But Mallinder admits Saints are significantly underperforming, as they sit 10th in the Aviva Premiership and bottom of their Champions Cup pool

"I think I'd be stupid to say the team are performing," Mallinder said.

"Clearly the team are underperforming and it needs to be turned around.

"We go back to (winning) performances we had in September and we look at the players we've got.

"We know we've got a very good squad, good strength in depth and we've got good coaches."