Cockerill refuses to be downcast
December 11, 2011
Referee Alain Rolland brandishes yellow cards to Leicester duo Manu Tuilagi and George Chuter © Getty Images
Leicester Tigers boss Richard Cockerill remains confident his side can progress in the Heineken Cup despite their 30-12 defeat at the hands of Clermont Auvergne on Sunday.
Defeat at Stade Marcel Michelin was the Premiership side's first in this season's competition and leaves them third in Pool 4 at the half way stage behind Clermont and Ulster. But there are only two points separating them and Clermont at the top, and Cockerill is looking to his players to bridge that gap at home on Saturday.
"We stuck in there and we did deny them a bonus point. That means there are still points to play for when we bring them back to Welford Road next weekend. We will just crack on in this competition," said Cockerill. "The best side won on the day and obviously the yellow cards didn't help us. We have to go home, lick our wounds and prepare for next week's return game.
"The atmosphere in Clermont is pretty volatile. The crowd cheer and everybody is lying on the floor like they have been shot. The referee deals with the decision as he sees fit. Alan Rolland is a good referee and he dealt with it."
England scrum-half Ben Youngs grabbed the first try of the game and the Tigers scrum earned them a penalty try at the death to at least give them hope of turning the result around next weekend. But Cockerill was unhappy that his side failed to make the most of their scoring chances and gifted Clermont a try just before the interval through a dropped ball in their 22.
"We had chances in their 22 in the first half and we didn't take them - you have to take them at this level. You also have to kick your points when you get an opportunity and we didn't do that either," said Cockerill. "On balance, they probably deserved to win and I am not complaining about the result. They had opportunities and they took the chances well.
"The score before half-time hurt us and then in the second half we had two guys in the bin at the same time. It cost us seven points and they are a world class team on the front foot - we really got punished then."
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