Sale slumped to a sixth straight Aviva Premiership defeat as Leicester won 20-8 at Salford City Stadium on Friday.
Entering this game with a woeful record of one point from their opening five matches, the Sharks could have hoped for an easier fixture to take them into the Heineken Cup break.
Leicester welcomed back Ben Youngs at scrum-half for his first start of the season, with George Ford completing the half-back partnership for his first start of the campaign.
Sale started well, with full-back Rob Miller gave Sharks the lead on seven minutes, diving over in the corner after fine work from Nick McLeod. The Sharks fly-half missed the conversion attempt from the touchline.
A McLeod penalty goal was sandwiched between two by Ford as the game entered the midway point in the first half, before Leicester's Vereniki Goneva was judged by referee Wayne Barnes to have deliberately knocked on, collecting the Tigers first yellow card of the season.
Ford kicked Leicester one point ahead three minutes into the second period, for an advantage they would keep for the rest of the game.
Youngs marked his return with a try in the corner, and although Ford missed his first kick of the night with the conversion attempt, he made up for it soon afterwards with a penalty to take the Tigers 17-8 up as the game entered the final quarter.
The introduction of 18-year-old Nathan Fowles at scrum-half gave Sale fresh impetus, with quick ball coming the way of their backline.
But Leicester ended the game the stronger, as replacement Sale hooker Joe Ward was binned with seven minutes to play for throwing several punches at his opposite number Tom Youngs in the breakdown.
Ford's penalty kick confirmed the result, as Leicester cemented their place in the top four, with Sale looking at a battle for Premiership survival.
Tries: BR Youngs
Pens: Ford 5
Sale: 15 Rob Miller, 14 Will Addison, 13 Johnny Leota, 12 Sam Tuitupou, 11 Mark Cueto, 10 Nick Macleod, 9 Cillian Willis, 8 Andy Powell, 7 David Seymour (c), 6 Richie Vernon, 5 Fraser McKenzie, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Tony Buckley, 2 Tommy Taylor, 1 Eifion Lewis-Roberts.
Replacements: 16 Joe Ward, 17 Ross Harrison, 18 Vadim Cobilas, 19 Kearnan Myall, 20 James Gaskell, 21 Nathan Fowles, 22 Danny Cipriani, 23 Mark Jennings.
Leicester: 15 Niall Morris, 14 Adam Thompstone, 13 Manusamoa Tuilagi, 12 Anthony Allen, 11 Vereniki Goneva, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Richard Thorpe, 6 Jordan Crane (c), 5 Graham Kitchener, 4 Ed Slater, 3 Martin Castrogiovanni, 2 Tom Youngs, 1 Logovi'i Mulipola.
Replacements: 16 Jimmy Stevens, 17 Boris Stankovich, 18 Dan Cole, 19 Rob Andrew, 20 Brett Deacon, 21 Sam Harrison, 22 Toby Flood, 23 Matt Smith.
Date: Friday, October 5
Kick-off: 20:00 BST
Venue: Salford City Stadium
Referee: Wayne Barnes