Saints boss Jim Mallinder was relieved, after his side's win over Castres kept them in contention for a Heineken Cup play-off berth.
Northampton boss Jim Mallinder was a relieved man, after his side's 18-12 victory over Castres at Franklin's Gardens kept them in contention for a Heineken Cup play-off berth.
Both sides played cautiously and were level at half-time. But three Ryan Lamb penalties clinched the win for the hosts, although they failed to secure a bonus point which could come back to haunt them at the end of the tournament's group matches.
“It was a difficult game,” said Mallinder.
“Castres are a good side and we struggled to break them down. We probably deserved to win but we did have a few opportunities when we should have been more accurate.
“We will look at the period they were down to 14 men which was a good opportunity for us to score some tries. We spoke about getting ahead and scoring a try and Castres maybe giving up but we never got to that.
“They were always within that seven points and we need to be more accurate. At the end of it we will take the win and go up to Glasgow still in the competition.”
Saints' captain Dylan Hartley was delighted with his side's showing.
“It shows we have a good character,” he said.
“It was a good all-round performance. We wanted to score four tries and take five points but they are a good team and to close out a game as close as that was quite professional.
“Recently we haven't closed out those games. Going into next week, we have to get five points to keep hopes alive.
“We are doing all right away from home. The spirit is good in the camp.
“All we can do is worry about winning and hopefully the tries will come with that.”