John Kingston praised his team after Harlequins conceded only three penalties in their 20-9 win over Saints on Saturday.
Alofa Alofa scored the only try of the game in the first half, before an assured performance from the tee from replacement fly-half Tim Swiel saw Quins stretch their lead in the second half.
It was a first win for Quins over Saints in eight matches in all competitions, and moved them up above Jim Mallinder’s men into eighth in the Premiership standings.
Kingston singled out Marland Yarde and Adam Jones for their big performances.
“For me, Adam Jones was unbelievable because he didn’t realise he was going to be coming on until very early this morning when Joe (Marler) failed his test,” Kingston explained.
“As a consequence, he was into the deep end on the other side of the scrum. It’s a testament to him that he answered that. For me, he was my man of the match. (Yarde) was also absolutely terrific. The season started a little bit slowly for him. He had a couple of knocks but the last couple of weeks he’s been fantastic.
“I’ve got a huge amount of time for him. He puts everything into his training and everything into his play. He was outstanding.There were a few home truths earlier in the week. We weren’t happy with the way we defended in certain ways last Sunday. With those addressed, you could see a really energised group of people determined to put things right this afternoon.”
Stephen Myler’s three penalties moved him above Jonny Wilkinson into fifth in the all-time Premiership points scorers list, but Mallinder admitted there were little positives for his side to take out of the game.
“It was a poor performance from us,” Mallinder said.
“We talked about coming here and controlling the game away from home, playing in the right parts of the field and keeping our discipline. We didn’t achieve any of those. I think we always knew we would be up against a fired-up Harlequins side. They like to play a fairly loose game, get the ball wide and they do that very well.
“We knew what was coming. I thought we defended pretty well for long periods. Some of our defence was outstanding. It was in attack where the frustrations were for me. We couldn’t keep hold of the ball. We were turning over the ball after one or two phases and could never get into pattern or shape.”