Cockerill hails Tigers
Director of rugby Richard Cockerill said Leicester's 35-21 victory over Northampton at Franklin's Gardens on Saturday sent out a 'massive message' to their rivals for the Aviva Premiership title.
Leicester's fifth successive bonus point win - a Premiership record - meant they leapfrogged champions Saracens and moved into second place with just two games left, away to leaders Harlequins next week followed by Bath at home.
Cockerill said: "Psychologically, that sends out a massive message to the rest of the sides we are going to play. It's hard to come here and it was a massive game for both teams."
He added: "It was a great win. We had not won here since 2006 and they are a good side. I thought we were outstanding. We controlled the set-piece well and created a lot of chances. That is a big result for us.
"I am delighted with the bonus point but any win here would have been a good result."
This defeat means Saints drop out of the top four, replaced by Exeter - who pulled off a last-ditch win against Worcester.
It means Northampton's trip to Exeter next Sunday could determine whether they make the play-offs.
Director of rugby Jim Mallinder said: "It was hugely disappointing. We made a good start but conceded two tries and we were playing catch up from there. Leicester deserved to win.
"We were second best and we need to sort it out. I was happy with the effort but our accuracy was down. We had two or three chances where we could have scored. The difference was they were clinical, really clinical. They got into our third, put us under massive pressure and scored.
"The players are down, they are upset. We have lost at home to Leicester, you don't want to do that, but we will come back. We are still in there, still fighting, we are not going to give up."