Alan Dickens believes the experience a young Saints side gained in defeat at Sale will stand them in good stead for the future.
The black, green and gold fielded a back line that had an average age below 20, while selecting some more experienced men in the pack.
And Sale proved simply too strong, securing a 39-18 victory at the AJ Bell Stadium in the Premiership Rugby Cup curtain raiser.
Saints refused to give up and lock Alex Coles added a try to skipper Teimana Harrison's first-half effort.
But it was a difficult day overall as Sale got the win that was expected of their more experienced team.
"We went in at half-time and we could have been closer than 15-8 down," said Saints defence coach Dickens.
"The messages were positive but they came out and got an intercept try and that hurt us early doors in the second half.
"There were some positive signs, we had a lot of young players out there and they've experienced a fully competitive game.
"They were physical, they've bolstered their squad with a lot of signings and they're big men so they're going to be physical.
"It's an experience and our lads will become better players as a result."