Dec 17, 2017
McCall: "We Were Much More Like Ourselves"
Mark McCall has said that his team were ‘back to themselves’ after they were narrowly beaten by Clermont at Stade Marcel Michelin on Sunday evening.
Saracens came flying out of the blocks and were 0-13 up in the opening stages by virtue of a converted Ben Spencer try along with two penalties from Owen Farrell before Clermont clawed their way back into the game backed by a partisan crowd.
A try from Alex Lozowski looked to have set Sarries on their way to victory before two late penalties dashed hopes of a first win for a visiting team in continental competition since Sale Sharks won there in 2009.
McCall praised his players’ response to a tricky run of results, saying: “Just given where we were on Monday evening into Tuesday morning after the defeat and the manner of it at home and having to come here which is a pretty difficult place to come along.
“We also had added injuries to the existing list after Brad (Barritt) and Richard Wigglesworth were ruled out.
“We were written off by lots of people and to come and play the way we played, we attacked the game, competed for absolutely everything and fought for everything.
“We also played good rugby as well as defending much, much better so it just felt like we were much more like ourselves today.
The Saracens Director of Rugby also said that he is optimistic heading into the rest of the season and is confident the tide will turn.
He explained: “Everyone’s saying that it felt good and felt better out there today but there’s more to come, of course we can improve and have to if we want to win games like that; there’s improvement in us for definite.
“We all know that we’re going to get through this patch, whether it’s next week in Leicester or the week after at Allianz Park against Worcester.
“We’ve got a good chance in the last two games to get ourselves into a qualifying position for the knockout phases of the Champions Cup, which is what we want.
“We want to get into the top four in the Premiership and have a chance of doing that as well, we’ll get through this little period.”
The two-time Champions Cup winner also said that he was not surprise by his players’ response, saying:
“As proud as I am, it doesn’t surprise me; knowing the character of the players and how determined they were, they weren’t here to roll over, they were here to compete and compete for everything and did just that.
“It’s not about outcomes, it’s about how it felt and looked; there was support on the field and they backed each other. That doesn’t mean we’ll get the same thing next week, we’ve got to work hard and look to improve.
“We’ve got to make it happen again next Sunday at Welford Road.”