Northampton director of rugby Chris Boyd refused to accept that his side were lacking in confidence after they fell to their 11th consecutive defeat with a 16-12 loss to Bordeaux-Begles at Franklin’s Gardens.
It was Saints’ 16th loss in their last 18 matches and for the second week running they should have finished in front.
Last week at Bristol they lost 18-17 to a last-minute penalty and back before a home crowd on Friday they dominated in terms of territory and possession and were ahead for most of the game only to lose to a 74th-minute try from Bordeaux wing Santiago Cordero.
Matthieu Jalibert converted the try, while Ben Botica had added three earlier penalties. Dan Biggar responded by kicking four penalties for Northampton.
Boyd said: “It’s not a question of confidence, it’s about execution and ours wasn’t good enough.
“We had enough territory and possession to win that game and be more than seven points in front going into the closing stages.
“You can see from the recent international tournaments that tries have been harder to come by but we had enough chances to score three or four tonight.
“You can’t do a lot when a ball rebounds back off a post and bounces sideways, that is just hard luck and things are not going our way at present.”
Saints also failed to take advantage of the ill-discipline of the visitors which saw them lose two players to the sin bin.
Scrum-half Maxime Lucu and flanker Cameron Woki were yellow carded but on both occasions the home side could not produce a score in their absence.
Next up in Europe for Saints is a daunting trip to Leinster, who are unbeaten this season.
Boyd added: “With the new format of this competition, you have to win at least three of your four games to qualify so it is now extremely difficult.
“We are not refocusing on the Premiership just yet but we will be resting some of our players next weekend and giving some of the youngsters a go.”
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