Sale Sharks director of rugby Steve Diamond saw a big improvement in his side's play during their 38-3 pre-season win over Leeds.
Sale ran in six tries with Danny Cipriani operating at fly-half and new signing Tom Arscott amongst the try-scorers.
Having avoided relegation last season in the final weeks after a tense three-way battle with London Irish and relegated London Welsh, Sale are looking to avoid a similar campaign this time round - something Diamond is confident they can avoid after already witnessing an improvement in their defence.
"I think a lot of things we've been working on in practice came to fruition. Our defence was really good; we've come a long way on that since last year," said Diamond to Sale's website.
"I think a lot of stuff we played today we've been doing for the last two months, and it went reasonable well. I think the one thing that pleased me most was the attitude of the players.
"We kept it on the right way through the match and the lads that came off the bench took it to another level again so I'm thoroughly pleased with the first proper knock out of the season.
"I think everyone played well, we got straight into the abrasiveness in the first ten minutes, and we had to suffer a yellow card which we're prepared to do in those circumstances.
"Tom Arscott showed his class at full-back, every one played well though."