Dan Bowden says Leicester Tigers must target top-two finish
Leicester Tigers' Dan Bowden has set his sights on returning to the Aviva Premiership summit despite back-to-back defeats
Setbacks against title rivals Harlequins and Saracens have seen Richard Cockerill's men slip from first to third, five points off second place.
Finishing first or second in the table would secure a home play-off semi-final for Tigers as they look to make their ninth successive Premiership final.
They have a chance to get back on track tomorrow when they welcome struggling Sale Sharks to Welford Road.
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Bowden said that, while his side probably need to start picking up bonus points, they just need to make sure they come out with a win.
"First and foremost we have to win and win at home in front of what has been a pretty awesome crowd," said the 26-year-old New Zealander. "That's our No.1 priority.
"We know that the last two performances have been sub-par so we definitely need to make sure we win.
"A bonus is a bonus, it is something that is on top, and if that happens then so be it but, at this moment in time, we really need the four points.
Bowden said he still believes a home semi-final could be on the cards.
"Making the top two definitely isn't out of the equation," he said.
"We know what is in front of us – and it's all to play for. It is still definitely within our sights. You have got to aim for that because other teams can win and lose games and there can be a bit of movement.
"Obviously they (Harlequins and Saracens) have a five-point buffer on us but we can put ourselves in the top two, there are six games to go, it is not out of the question."
Last Saturday's defeat to Saracens was a bittersweet afternoon for Bowden. Despite the loss, he scored a stunning first-half try when Tigers broke from their own 22 which culminated in the centre getting on the end of a lobbed kick from George Ford to score. It will go down as one of the tries of the season.
"It was just a great team effort," said Bowden. "
"You cannot overlook the fact that Fordy started a counter-attack from our own five-metre line, which was very impressive. He faked a kick and then found Geordie (Murphy) in the middle of the field, and the strength that Adam Thompstone showed to hand-off James Short was phenomenal.
"We had a quick break and their full-back was in the line and we found some space over the top and managed to score.
"I'll take credit for seeing the space, but Fordy has got to be able to execute the kick and he did it perfectly."