Heineken Cup quarter-finals: Saracens boss Mark McCall heaps pressure on Ulster
Last Updated: 02/04/14 8:07am
Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall has insisted his squad is determined not to repeat the collapse that left them trophyless at the end of last season.
Sarries topped last year's Aviva Premiership table but suffered a shock defeat in the semi-final with Northampton and were knocked out at the same stage of the Heineken Cup to eventual winners Toulon.
The London-based side now find themselves in a similar position, having opened up a seven-point gap at the top of their domestic league and facing a European quarter-final with Ulster on Saturday, live on Sky Sports 2HD.
And McCall said: "As a group, we've experienced a lot of things together over the last five years - ups, downs, triumphs, huge setbacks, last-minute wins and last-minute losses. We think we're as ready as we've ever been to attack this part of this season and a game like Ulster.
"The one thing that we've been really good at for the last three or four years is we've been unbelievably consistent but it's about elevating your performance for a game like this, which is the next step. You have to be able to find another level and that's what we've got to go and do."
Ulster have once again had a strong season in the Pro12 league, sitting eight points short of top-side Leinster in third and topping their Heineken Cup pool over Leicester Tigers.
But McCall believes the pressure is all on the Northern Irish side and he wants his team to capitalise on the expectation.
"I know from talking to everybody over there that there is a weight of expectation on them. That expectation comes from themselves because they believe they've underachieved and it comes from the public massively.
"I suppose our job is to try and turn that expectation into something different - a burden, pressure, stress and if we can do that we'll see what happens.
"I don't want us to be surprised and when you're not surprised you can look forward to it and relish it."