Champions Cup: Sale boss Alex Sanderson admits his side ‘didn’t deserve anything’ in Toulouse loss

Sale Sharks boss Alex Sanderson was frustrated with how far his team were off their best in their 27-5 loss to Toulouse in the Champions Cup on Saturday.

Facing Toulouse in European competition is a tough task that was made more difficult after a Cobus Wiese red card in the 18th minute.

Props Nick Schonert and Simon McIntyre had both left the field before then after a clash of heads, adding to Sale’s woes.

Not close to their best

Sanderson said the team was aiming to be at their best for the tricky game with Toulouse but ultimately was nowhere near that on the day.

“We had talked beforehand about how we would need to be at our very best this weekend if we were to even have a chance of winning this game,” Sanderson said.

“In the end, though, we were nowhere near our best.

“Of course, you can throw in the curve-balls that came with losing two props so early in the game and then the sending-off not long after, but the players left on the field still have to do the basics right.

“We didn’t deserve anything today, and Toulouse have what it takes to go on and win games like this.

“They’ve proved time and again that they’ve got the strength and the quality to be successful in the big games like this.

“We failed to manage the game very well at crucial stages, we didn’t keep the ball well enough and the line-outs weren’t great.

“We’ve been the victims of our own demise to a large degree.

“Defensively we were more on it, and we gave it everything in that respect, but it was with the ball that also let us down on what has turned into a disappointing day.”

Must-win against Ulster

Sanderson had no issues with the red card, but now it means Sale must beat Ulster next weekend if they are to progress to the last 16 of the Champions Cup.

“It’s very clear what we’ve got to do to progress in the competition now,” he said.

“We’ve got to go to Ulster next weekend now and get a result.

“We know we’re going to have to scrap, battle and fight from start to finish if we are to get a result, and if we can do that we’ll see what happens.

“Today aside, we’ve put some really decent performances in so far this season, but it just didn’t happen for us today.”

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