Leicester Tigers: We must start winning run soon - Scott Hamilton
Winger Scott Hamilton insists Leicester Tigers will "come out fighting" after their hopes of a semi-final spot were severely dented by a 32-27 defeat by Saracens.
The 32-year-old Kiwi said the four-try reverse at a snowy Welford Road on Saturday left him, and the rest of the Tigers team, with a "terrible feeling" as Sarries opened up a five-point lead over Tigers in second place.
The hosts led 17-3 at one stage after scores from Julian Salvi and Dan Bowden. But Saracens turned on the power after the break and scored four tries in just 23 minutes.
Hamilton admitted that result has put the pressure firmly on Richard Cockerill's side to start producing the goods in a hurry.
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However, he believes Tigers are close to where they want to be after leading both Saracens and Harlequins at half-time in their last two matches.
"It's a terrible feeling to lose at home but we are not very far off," said Hamilton.
"Unfortunately, we have been saying that for a long time. We have not put in an 80-minute performance all season.
But we know that if we play the top teams, we are there or thereabouts.
"At the moment, we are not getting it right, but that is not to say that we can't do that in the future. We are not sitting in the changing room thinking Saracens are a better team than us. They have been the better team on the day – but we feel no team is beyond us and that we can beat any team in this league.
"If worse comes to the worse and we have to go on the road in the semi-finals, we will do. The belief is there and I am hoping we turn it around because we are going to have to do it soon.
"We have to start winning games or it will be a different pressure of trying to reach the top four, not the top two.
"The Sale game this weekend is a must-win for us. We have a couple of weeks off after this game and we will be going all out. Nothing will be left behind this weekend."
Director of rugby Richard Cockerill admitted that his side could not cope with the pressure they were put under in the second half.
"We controlled the field position and game well in the first half and the score reflected that," he said.
"Yet in the second half, it was a complete role-reversal. Saracens put us under pressure and we couldn't cope with it.
"We've got the best part of a team missing and Sale becomes pretty important now before we get everyone back for the run-in."