SALE Sharks director of rugby Steve Diamond says the club will come back better and stronger next season after the disappointment of just missing out on a top-six Aviva Premiership finish.

A 35-13 defeat to Leicester Tigers on the final day of the season in front of more than 10,000 fans at the AJ Bell Stadium saw the Sharks edged out of a place in next season's European Champions Cup.

However, given the experience gained by his players over the course of the campaign and with the Sharks boss set to step up his recruitment drive for top-class talent over the next month or so, Diamond says the future looks bright for the club.

"I think we got beat in the tough stuff – at the scrum and breakdown we got dominated and Leicester edged us on the day," he told the club's website.

"Looking at the season overall it's been a positive one but I think we've counted the cost of our last-minute losses at Bath and Newcastle.

"We should have been challenging for fifth and fourth place.

"Five minutes of madness over the season probably cost us a European Champions Cup place and the way to sort that out is to continually develop the coaching and to bring players with international experience to the club.

"But we're not losing too many players and we'll be bringing three or four senior players in and we'll be building on what we've got.

"Jono Ross will be skipper next year and will be looking to sign a new longer-term contract.

"So, overall, I'm reasonably pleased. I am disappointed with the result but with what is going on off the field – with 10,000 supporters in on Saturday, 1,000 people in corporate, ambitious owners, an ambitious skipper and team I think it all augurs well.

"With our ability behind the scenes to catch the other 11 teams up in what they spend, world-class players are on the radar.

"It's a recruitment job now for the next three or four months. There's nobody available until the end of the Super Rugby season so the signings we make we'll be looking to arrive in August."