Sale director of rugby, Alex Sanderson, accepted his share of the blame after his side slipped to a fifth defeat in a row in all competitions at Gloucester on Sunday.

Sharks lost 32-20 in the Premiership and were outscored by their hosts by four tries to two. They now sit seventh in the table, 12 points behind leaders, Northampton Saints.

Sanderson’s side did not help themselves at the weekend with an error-ridden performance which gifted Gloucester a couple of scores.

Sale’s cause was also not helped by the loss of powerful South African forwards Dan du Preez and Cobus Wiese to injury in the first half and two yellow cards for Sam Dugdale and Joe Carpenter.

Gloucester’s tries came from Ollie Thorley, George McGuigan, Ruan Ackermann and Charlie Atkinson, with Santiago Carreras adding three conversions and two penalties.

Sanderson said: “Our defence was poor in the first half, our set-piece was poor throughout and they feasted on a couple of opportunities we gave them.

“We’ve always prided ourselves on our defensive performance but we are shipping too many points lately.

“We have shifted our gameplan as we wanted to improve our attacking game but we’ve lost our way a bit.

“The effort was fantastic but we need to be better as coaches and I’ll take my share of the blame for that, but we are still a better side than we showed today.

“You are only as good as last game so you want to play again as soon as you can but realistically we need a break from playing.

“The lack of bonus points is a concern as we’ve won as many games as others but still find ourselves down the table.”

Gloucester head coach George Skivington was happy to end a “painful” run of nine Premiership defeats with their bonus-point triumph.

Skivington said: “It feels good to win a Premiership game as the run has been very painful.

“However, I think we’ve fully earned the win as we have been very close and in the fight in the last three league games.

“We’ve worked hard on our ruck and maul since we had a reset seven weeks ago as we had previously got it wrong by thinking that those areas had been banked, which turned out not to be the case.

“We gave away a lot of penalties in the last quarter and then Lewis Ludlow got a yellow card but fortunately we were able to ride the storm out.”