Alex Sanderson believes Sale Sharks still have not scratched the surface of their potential after a statement victory over Saracens on Friday night.

Sale made it 12 home league wins on the bounce by beating their fellow high-flyers 22-20 at Salford Stadium, thanks to tries from Agustin Creevy, Tom Roebuck and Luke Cowan-Dickie and seven points from the boot of George Ford.

The result saw Sanderson’s side take a four-point lead at the summit, heading into the weekend’s fixtures, before being leapfrogged by Bath the following day.

But Sanderson believes there is a lot more still to come from his charges.

“There is a sense of relief, but I’m so happy the lads made good of their intentions against a really good Saracens side,” Sale’s director of rugby said.

“I suppose it makes Christmas that bit sweeter for us - we’ll all enjoy our Christmas morning now.

“We knew the magnitude of the game of course, and I was delighted with the way the players just revelled in their responsibilities.

“We’re still going well.

“Having said that, in terms of our performance I still think there’s loads more to come from us all. That’s really exciting, isn’t it?

“We still need to be better in all areas of the game because a game’s big moments turn on small hinges and we need to make sure we turn those big moments into our favour as much as we can, but we’ve not hit our straps yet.

“There’s a lot more in us yet I think, and that’s a great thing to be able to say at this stage of the season.”

Owen Farrell kicked 10 points for Saracens but tries from Ivan van Zyl and Gareth Simpson were only enough for the visitors to claim a losing bonus point.

It has been a tricky few weeks by the very high standards set by Mark McCall’s side, who have now lost successive Premiership games after going down at Northampton Saints earlier this month.

McCall said: “We knew it would be a difficult game away at a quality side like Sale.

“Having said that, I’m proud and pleased of the way we played throughout the 80 minutes.

“The players showed real energy and they kept fighting right until the end, and we almost clawed our way back to claim a victory.

“We’re not too far away, we’re getting there. We’ve got some really tough fixtures coming up, but also we’ve got a few players to come back into the reckoning over the next few weeks.

“We definitely aren’t feeling sorry for ourselves. That’s not the attitude I’m feeling.”

Sale’s next Premiership outing is at Northampton next Saturday afternoon.