'My heart is still racing. I am elated, frustrated and a bit confused with some of the decisions'
A 24-20 victory at Bath saw Sale move second in the table and six more points from their remaining three regular season matches – against leaders Bristol, fellow play-off contenders Harlequins and champions Exeter – should be enough.
But they did it the hard way at the Recreation Ground, prevailing despite having three players sin-binned.
Cobus Wiese, Raphael Quirke and Byron McGuigan all received yellow cards as Sale reached a table-topping 21 sin-binnings in the league this season.
“Emotions were so mixed at the end,” Sale rugby director Sanderson said.
“I am elated at winning, and frustrated at how we won but we are a very difficult side to beat and we have proved that time after time.
“We need to be better disciplined and the next three games are going to be massive. We are going to play one of those teams twice.”
Bath, though, slipped to a club-record sixth Premiership home defeat this season as Sale claimed their first away victory in the fixture since 2014.
Bath captain Charlie Ewels’ yellow card in the closing minutes cost his team as Sale pounced to seal a bonus-point triumph.
First-half tries from lock JP Du Preez, wing McGuigan and full-back Simon Hammersley helped Sale tie a high-class opening half and it was replacement hooker Curtis Langdon’s 77th-minute try that edged them home.
Fly-half AJ MacGinty kicked two conversions – he also missed three shots at goal – while his opposite number Rhys Priestland landed four from four, slotting two penalties and two conversions.
Centre Cameron Redpath and flanker Josh Bayliss touched down for the home side, with Priestland’s second-half penalty not enough on the night as Bath keep on fighting for Heineken Champions Cup qualification.
“I hope everyone enjoyed it back at home, because it was turmoil for us,” Sanderson told BT Sport.
“My heart is still racing. I am elated, frustrated and a bit confused with some of the decisions.
“Hopefully, we can go all the way with 13 or 14 men, but it’s not the plan.
“We felt like the tide was turning and we weathered the double sin-bin (Wiese and Quirke) without conceding.
“We switched off in too many moments and lost concentration – and that might lead to the yellow cards as well.”
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) May 14, 2021
Bath remain seventh in the league with games to come against Harlequins, Gloucester and Northampton, and it was another occasion this season when things slipped away from them.
“I am frustrated,” Bath rugby director Stuart Hooper said. “But credit to them for holding us out.
“We had moments when we could, and probably should, have won, and there have been moments in other games when we should have won.”
And asked about Sale’s possible claims to a first Premiership title since 2006, Hooper added: “They have got as good a chance as anyone out there.”
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