Leicester Tigers driven on by pressure, says Geoff Parling
Geoff Parling says the Leicester Tigers squad is thriving on the pressure of the race for the Aviva Premiership title.
The club's astonishing recent form has seen them installed as favourites for the title.
If Leicester beat old rivals Bath at a sold-out Welford Road on Saturday, they will secure a home semi-final, and Parling says the squad is comfortable with the pressures involved as expectation continues to rise.
"The aim at this club every season is to win the league and the Heineken Cup," said the 28-year-old lock.
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"We didn't do as well as we would have liked in Europe but we have won the LV= Cup.
"Now, the pressure is on us to win the league, and that is a brilliant pressure.
"You can win all of these games during the season but, unless you reach a final and give yourselves a chance to win something, it's pretty pointless.
"But our league form has been outstanding since the World Cup and now we are in a great position.
"If we meet Saints or Quins again in the play-offs, we have just beaten them both so we have laid down a marker."
Parling's own stock has risen at the same rate as his club's this season, as he bounced back from a long injury lay-off to be a mainstay of England's Six Nations squad.
He took his international form back to Leicester and has been at the heart of the club's dominant set-piece, which has provided a platform for a rampant try-scoring romp in the last six matches.
With Bath arriving at the end of a season of underachievement for them, Parling insists Tigers must maintain their focus in what most people would expect to be an easier game than the recent wins against Northampton and Harlequins.
"Bath have not been as competitive as they would liked to have been this season," he said.
"But if you cannot get up for these sort of games, you should not be doing the job.
"If you get complacent, you are going to get hammered.
"If you get a bit cocky, you lose. It's as simple as that.
"A sign of a good team is one that always produces the goods week in, week out, and always make it tough for the opposition.
"We also feel that one of the main things we can take from those big wins over Saints and Quins is that there are areas of our game we know we can work on."