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Loffreda - Win saved my job
Under-fire Leicester coach grateful to winger's late try
My job would have been in question if we hadn't made Europe.
Quotes of the week
Leicester coach Marcelo Loffreda admitted that Tom Varndell's late try against Harlequins had probably saved his job.
The Tigers came from behind to beat Quins 31-28 on the final day of the Guinness Premiership regular season and clinch the fourth and final play-off spot.
Sale's defeat at home to London Irish opened the door for the Tigers, who now face a semi-final clash with table-toppers Gloucester on May 18.
"My job would have been in question if we hadn't made Europe," said Loffreda.
"It has been a very difficult week with all that has been going on with the rumours and press talk.
"(Chief executive) Peter Wheeler's public support has been very important to me and I told him how much I appreciate it.
"While there was hope, you have to keep hoping and we had to be patient. That's what we told the players at half-time.
"Anything can happen in this league because it is always so tight. Nobody would have bet £1 on us today but we are in the play-offs.
"All week everyone has been doubting what I can do and what I am expected to do. I have been in other situations with a lot of pressure but it was different pressure with the Pumas.
"Because of our attacking aims we sometimes made mistakes and were punished for it. We lost some control in the first half but we got it back in the second half."
Varndell's last-gasp winner capped off a frenetic and entertaining game in which the lead changed hands on numerous occasions and Loffreda was quick to praise his two-try hero.
"Tom Varndell was very good and he has been improving over the last few weeks, not only with the ball but without it too," he added.
Quins director of rugby and former Leicester chief Dean Richards was fuming at the defeat, which thwarted his own side's play-off ambitions.
Richards' men finish the season in sixth and need Bath to beat Worcester in the European Shield final to clinch the last place in the Heineken Cup.
"We would love to play Heineken Cup rugby next season but now we will have to wait for a couple of weeks and see what happens," said Richards.
"It was probably a season too early for us.
"You always try to improve year on year. We have finished sixth this year, who knows where we will finish next year.
"We should have won the game. We got nothing from the referee who was not on top form. He was not consistent but he is a top-class referee.
"Leicester have plenty of stars in multiple positions but they were not as well organised as us. We played some good stuff and had a lot of young lads in there."
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|Friday 6th March|
|19:45||Bath vs Sale Sharks|
|Saturday 7th March|
|15:00||Exeter vs London Welsh|
|15:00||Harlequins vs London Irish|
|15:15||Gloucester vs Northampton|
|Sunday 8th March|
|14:00||Wasps vs Saracens|
|15:00||Newcastle Falcons vs Leicester Tigers|
|Friday 27th March|
|19:45||Northampton vs Wasps|
|Saturday 28th March|
|15:00||London Irish vs Newcastle|
|15:00||Leicester vs Exeter|
|15:15||Saracens vs Harlequins|
|Sunday 29th March|
|14:00||Sale vs Gloucester|
|14:30||London Welsh vs Bath|
|Friday 10th April|
|19:45||Newcastle vs Bath|
|Saturday 11th April|
|15:00||Harlequins vs Gloucester|
|15:15||Saracens vs Leicester|
|Sunday 12th April|
|14:00||Exeter vs Northampton|
|14:30||London Welsh vs Wasps|
|15:00||London Irish vs Sale|
|Saturday 25th April|
|14:00||Sale vs Harlequins|
|15:00||Gloucester vs Newcastle|
|15:00||Bath vs London Irish|
|15:00||Northampton vs Saracens|
|15:00||Leicester vs London Welsh|
|Sunday 26th April|
|14:00||Wasps vs Exeter|
|Saturday 9th May|
|14:00||Sale vs Newcastle|
|Sunday 1st March|
|Wasps 32 - 21 Gloucester|
|Saturday 28th February|
|Exeter 16 - 6 Bath|
|Saracens 22 - 17 Newcastle Falcons|
|Leicester Tigers 28 - 8 Sale Sharks|
|London Welsh 12 - 50 London Irish|
|Friday 27th February|
|Northampton 17 - 13 Harlequins|
|Sunday 22nd February|
|London Irish 6 - 12 Leicester Tigers|
|Saturday 21st February|
|Bath 13 - 21 Northampton|
|Harlequins 21 - 32 Exeter|
|Gloucester 48 - 10 London Welsh|
|Sale Sharks 14 - 10 Saracens|
|Friday 20th February|
|Newcastle 23 - 23 Wasps|
|Sunday 15th February|
|Wasps 37 - 6 Harlequins|
|London Welsh 12 - 52 Sale|
|Saracens 34 - 24 Bath|
|Saturday 14th February|
|Exeter 46 - 17 Newcastle|
|Friday 13th February|
|Leicester 18 - 15 Gloucester|
|Northampton 15 - 9 London Irish|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com