Conor O'Shea went out of his way to praise Harlequins captain Chris Robshaw's performance in Saturday's 26-25 loss to Exeter.
Speculation continues to surround Robshaw's future as captain of England ahead of Eddie Jones officially starting his new role as head coach of the national side next week.
Harlequins picked up a try bonus point and led for much of a tense contest with the Chiefs at Sandy Park.
But they missed out in the end, partly down to the boot of Exeter fly-half Gareth Steenson.
O'Shea took heart from his team's efforts away from home at a tough ground and believes Harlequins are on the right track.
"I never single people out, but I thought Chris Robshaw was outstanding today," O'Shea said.
"I hope people take a long, hard look at that before they start writing him off.
"He has been one of the outstanding back row forwards in this country for many a year.
"He made yards today when you didn't think he could make yards, and he was turning ball over, he was tackling, he was working.
"I am gutted for us as a team, but I am incredibly proud of the performance. We are going to be in this for the long haul this season – 100 per cent – and we are going to get stronger and stronger.
"There is a genuine fight and drive within this group to prove a few things to themselves and to a few others."