Alex Sanderson chastised Sale Sharks’ inconsistency after a costly 22-14 home defeat to Bristol Bears last Friday.

Victory would have taken Sharks back to the Premiership summit but they instead slumped to a first home defeat in 14 months against third-from-bottom Bears.

And Sanderson did not mince his words after a deeply damaging defeat.

“I’m not bothered at all about the home record going, I’m just after more consistent performances from the lads, week in, week out,” said the Sharks director of rugby.

“We’re just not getting that at the moment, it’s really disappointing.

“We had the opportunities, particularly in the first half, but we made too many inconsistent calls and there was too much sloppy indiscipline out there.

“Fair play to Bristol, they converted half as many opportunities as we did, and that’s frustrating for me.

“The players will take ownership of this result, though, I’m just so disappointed we didn’t get over the line.

“We need to be yards better if we are going to win this thing, that’s clear to see.”

In the absence of fly-half George Ford, Sale struggled to assert themselves and were behind 14-0 midway through the first half after tries from Harry Randall and Gabriel Ibitoye.

Jonny Hill responded for the hosts, but Max Malins delivered a sucker punch just after half time and AJ MacGinty’s late penalty ensured Agustin Creevy’s second-half score counted for nothing.

A win of this significance has likely arrived too late for Bears to force themselves into the play-off picture, but that did not stop boss Pat Lam from enjoying a fine night’s work.

“I’m really pleased for the boys because we were all annoyed after last week’s game,” he said, referencing the 24-14 home defeat to Exeter Chiefs.

“For some reason we couldn’t play our game then, and so during the week we’ve put a lot of hard work in.

“The contrast from last week to this is amazing - everybody did their jobs tonight and so I’m pleased for the boys. This is what good looks like.

“It’s a huge win for us because we know this is a difficult place to come to.

“We had to be on it because we knew how capable Sale are of shutting a game down once they get in front.

“We’ve got two big games back at Ashton Gate now. We owe one to our fans there after last week.

“I’m not looking at the table, though. That’s not going to help us at this stage of the season.

“It’s a tough competition. Good luck to anyone who thinks they can pick who’ll go and win it.”