Saints 'abysmal from start to finish' against Gloucester
Alex Waller admits Saints were 'abysmal from start to finish' against Gloucester on Saturday.
The black, green and gold delivered a sorry display against the Cherry and Whites, who cruised to a 31-7 win at Franklin's Gardens.
It put a huge spanner in the works for Saints, who went into the game knowing a win would lift them into the Gallagher Premiership play-off places.
And co-captain Waller said: "It's completely unacceptable from us. I said that after the game to the boys and we all acknowledge that.
"The week coming into the game was pretty good but we didn't get out of first gear in that game, which is really disappointing because it could have set us up nicely for the run-in.
"It's completely unacceptable.
"There's plenty to work on this week.
"We're not out of the race by any stretch, we've made it hard for ourselves though."
Waller added: "It was bad in every aspect and in a game you can almost afford to carry one aspect not going as well as you'd like but as soon as it starts multiplying you're in trouble.
"There's not any merit in ignoring it - you need to learn from it.
"When you underestimate a team like Gloucester or any team in the Premiership these days things like that can happen.
"There's plenty of lessons to learn and there's no point hiding from the fact that we were abysmal from start to finish.
"There are a few honest conversations to be had this week coming and we'll look at it.
"I'm a little bit stuck for words and haven't quite taken it in yet."
Gloucester went into the game sitting 10th, but they finished the day by racking up their biggest league win of the season so far.
Saints looked like the team closer to the bottom of the table than the top.
And Waller said: "It wasn't expected and not the way we want to perform at all.
"We had a good run of performances and maybe we just took our foot off the gas subconsciously.
"Gloucester are towards the bottom of the table and I don't think we gave them the respect they deserve.
"It's a harsh lesson for us as a team so I've got to take it on the chin as captain and drill that into the boys a bit more.
"Maybe we need to change a bit of our prep and we'll take it on the chin."
Saints now prepare to head to Newcastle Falcons next Monday.
And they know only a win will do to keep their slim top-four chances alive.
"Unless something drastic happens with any of the other teams, we know we've got to win all our games," Waller said.
"It's not unachievable by any stretch but if we play like we did against Gloucester there's no chance.
"We want to be top four and we want to compete for the Premiership and the target is to go four from four.
"There's no point moping around.
"I sulked on the evening of the game but now it's about moving on and thinking about what I can do to help the lads.
"The buck stops with me in terms of leadership so I'll get back onto it.
"There's no point looking backwards when we've got another game to prepare for."