Geordan Murphy insists Leicester remain untouched by relegation jitters, despite their precarious position in the Gallagher Premiership.
A Tigers team that is missing England scrum-half Ben Youngs to a shoulder injury host league pacesetters Exeter on Saturday knowing the Chiefs will all but guarantee a home play-off if they triumph at Welford Road.
Only five points separate Leicester from bottom-placed Newcastle with five rounds remaining and the club have reacted to the danger by recruiting Mike Ford as a coaching consultant to work alongside Murphy.
Ford, the former Bath director of rugby, will be involved for the first time when Exeter visit the East Midlands and Murphy insists he has joined a club that is convinced crisis will be averted.
“Everyone wants to look at Leicester. We’re a big side and people are talking about relegation, but it’s not something we’re worried about,” Murphy told LTTV.
“We’re aware of it and we’re not being complacent about it, but we have to look up. We have some great players in our squad and we’re confident that if we put a little bit more in, we’ll start getting the results.
“We’re disappointed with how we played last time out against Northampton and this is an opportunity to get back on the horse.
“We’ve had some tough games and some tough times, but no excuses from us – we need to improve and show better fight.
“The fact is we’re at the bottom end of the table, we’re in the scrap, we’re in the mire. There’s pressure placed on our shoulders, but the guys are looking forward to playing, but also to giving a slightly better account of themselves.
“There isn’t a huge amount of distance between us and the top half of the able. It’s a very tight table.”
The once unthinkable prospect of Leicester being relegated has ignited debate over whether they are too big to go down, claims that could not be made against Harlequins and Northampton before them.
A seismic clash at bottom-placed Newcastle awaits on April 12, but Exeter boss Rob Baxter believes they will soon start climbing the table.
“Most people will look at the quality of the squad they have got and just go, ‘When is it all going to click?’ I think lots of people across the Premiership are looking at them like that,” Baxter said.
“At the same time, you also have to appreciate Leicester are a team who can come out fighting. It is very rare you see them stay down for very long.
“There have been plenty of times in the past where they’ve had international players missing, they’ve not done so well for a period, then all of a sudden you will see them go from fourth bottom to winning Premiership titles.
“They have done that plenty of times, so that is something we have to be aware of.”
A crowd of 60,000 is expected at Twickenham for Bath’s west country derby against Bristol, dubbed ‘The Clash’.
“It’s do or die, you’ve seen how the table is so unpredictable and you can’t afford to slip up now,” Bath centre Jonathan Joseph said.
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