Saracens boss Mark McCall was happy with his side after their narrow defeat over local rivals London Wasps.
The 2011 champions led 29-17 with time running out, only for Wasps scrum-half Charlie Davies to score with two minutes left to set up a tense finish. Saracens held on though to run out 29-24 winners and move back up to second in the league.
"In the first half we were a bit disappointing to be honest," said McCall.
"We thought we were a little bit off where we normally are in terms of our intensity and physicality but I'm just proud of the players for getting the job done again.
"It wasn't an easy day to play rugby - there weren't many phases from either side - but Wasps really put it to us, they were really physical, they're a really good team and they made life very hard.
"I thought the difference between the two teams was our set-piece. The scrum and the line-out were excellent.
"We had a number of players missing, and we decided beforehand we would take Kelly Brown and Schalk Brits off to protect them for their internationals so of course you take away some of the experience then.
"But I thought a lot of our younger players really stepped up in the second half and the second half was a much improved performance."
The game was the first of the season for Saracens at Vicarage Road, having already playing other 'home' matches in Twickenham, Wembley, Brussels so far this season.
"This is our 10th game and it's been an unusual 10 weeks," McCall added.
"We've been everywhere and we came back today to our 10th different ground so I'm very proud of the whole group. To have got through the 10-game period and lost only one game is exceptional."