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Aviva Premiership: Steve Diamond plays down top four ambitions
Do I think top four is achievable? I'm not being coy but we see how it is every week and try to challenge the lads to get up for it. The one thing we have got, and what helped us last year, is togetherness.
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Sale director of rugby Steve Diamond refused to set any lofty ambitions for his team after victory over league leaders Northampton.
Saturday's 19-6 victory means that a top-four finish in the Aviva Premiership is still an achievable goal, but Diamond believes that Sale have to be realistic.
He said: "Does the win give us more ambition? No, not really. This time last year we were scrapping it out for our lives and this year we're just glad to be in mid-table.
"Do I think top four is achievable? I'm not being coy but we see how it is every week and try to challenge the lads to get up for it. The one thing we have got, and what helped us last year, is togetherness.
"We went through it last year and we had to scrap it out and it's served us well, and in tight games like today you need that resolve."
Diamond also hailed his team's resolve after the Sharks kept Saints scoreless throughout the match.
He said: "In the first half we played reasonably well against the wind and in the second half we didn't get out of our own half.
"(We had) the resolve in defence to counter that and get away with the win so we're delighted really.
"We've had a rest which is a good thing. Their internationals were tired and they chose to pick them and that's their choice and we know that we were the fitter team. "
Northampton director of rugby Jim Mallinder refused to blame tiredness for the result.
Mallinder said: "It was a poor performance. In the first half we never really got off the coach. Sale scored some good tries and took their opportunities.
"In the second half we improved but we were always up against it because we knew we had to score tries.
"We looked like a side who didn't have any cohesiveness out there because we haven't all played together for eight weeks.
"I don't think it is fitness because our lads are fit. We just couldn't string anything together and it was more teamwork today. We need time to gel a little bit and we need to spend more time together. The positive for us is that we will get better.
"It's difficult to get on that front foot and we never did. Our forwards worked hard but credit to Sale because they defended for their lives.
"We've got some important games coming up now. We've lost this game but we're not out.. We've got five games and we're still up in a very strong position and it's down to us. We've just got to put that behind us."
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|Friday 27th February|
|19:45||Northampton vs Harlequins|
|Saturday 28th February|
|14:30||London Welsh vs London Irish|
|15:00||Saracens vs Newcastle Falcons|
|15:00||Leicester Tigers vs Sale Sharks|
|15:15||Exeter vs Bath|
|Sunday 1st March|
|13:00||Wasps vs Gloucester|
|Friday 6th March|
|19:45||Bath vs Sale|
|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 vs Leicester|
|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|
|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|
|Sunday 11th January|
|London Irish 28 - 26 Exeter|
|Newcastle 38 - 7 London Welsh|
|Saturday 10th January|
|Harlequins 32 - 12 Leicester|
|Bath 39 - 26 Wasps|
|Sale Sharks 20 - 7 Northampton|
|Friday 9th January|
|Gloucester 24 - 23 Saracens|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com