'Twickenham's not enough, I want the cup... I'm not celebrating yet'
Sale will feature in the play-offs for the first time since 2006 – the only occasion they have claimed the English title – but Sanderson still wants more from his squad.
They defeated fourth-placed Harlequins 45-12 on Friday to keep their hopes of a home semi-final alive and Sale’s boss has the title in his sights.
“You’ve got to keep driving, there are three games left,” he said.
“Twickenham’s not enough, I want the cup. Everyone keeps saying, ‘you must be over the moon to make the play-offs?’ Well, I am, but we’ve got the opportunity (to win it). I’m not celebrating yet.”
He said: “We’ve got to beat the top team maybe three times in one season and then, if not, Exeter twice, so the odds are stacked against us, but you would be a foolish person to bet against us.”
Sale will hope to have Manu Tuilagi back for next week’s clash against Exeter, a game which will decide who gets a home semi-final.
Tuilagi was forced to self-isolate after coming into close contact with a member of staff that had tested positive for Covid-19.
Sanderson says, however, that the powerhouse centre should return to training on Thursday.
“Manu’s in great form but that is the environment we’re in,” he added. “Even if you’ve had a PCR test, a lateral flow test and they’re negative, you’ve still got to isolate.”
The Sharks evidently did not need Tuilagi on Friday as they thrashed Harlequins and ended the Londoners’ chances of a home match in the play-offs.
It was a disappointing evening for Quins, who made 11 changes to their team, but coach Adam Jones does not believe that this result has dealt a psychological blow to his side.
“A lot of our boys have played a lot of minutes and we want them fresh for the semi-finals. When you get to the semi-finals, everyone’s good anyway,” Jones said.
“If you get to a European semi-final, everyone’s good, if you get to a Premiership semi-final, everyone’s a good side.
“Whoever we play on the day is going to be tough. We’ve managed to rest a few of our boys so we will get them firing for the Newcastle game and then on to the semi-finals.
“We’ve lost games and come back, it’s not like we’ve not lost a game since January. (When we have) we’ve bounced back pretty quickly the week after.
“We need to beat Newcastle to give us a nice bit of momentum but we know we’re in the semi-finals.
“We wanted boys to put their hands up tonight. Certainly, the usual suspects did but some probably didn’t.”
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