Ford not complacent after win
Bath boss Mike Ford insists his players will not get carried away after another bonus point victory underlined their Aviva Premiership title credentials.
Tries by wing Horacio Agulla, centre Kyle Eastmond, replacement lock Dave Attwood and full-back Anthony Watson saw Bath home 31-14 against Recreation Ground visitors and play-off rivals Exeter.
It also ensured that Bath kept the heat on champions and current Premiership pace-setters Northampton heading into the new year.
Fly-half George Ford converted all four touchdowns and added a penalty, while Exeter - in third spot before kick-off - replied through tries from wings Matt Jess and Jack Nowell, with Gareth Steenson landing both conversions.
"We are pleased with the way we played," Ford said.
"The plan was to throw the ball around a little bit, although we were a bit impatient at times, but the positivity and the belief the team showed was fantastic.
"We want to have options all over the field, but I don't want anyone to forget that we played a very good side today.
"They were third in the competition, but to get a bonus point win against one of your close competitors is very pleasing.
"We have got a really good squad at the moment. That was our fifth tough game on the run, so we will take a break and give the players time off until Wednesday because our next game (against Leicester) is not easy. We need them fresh."
Bath, who gave rugby league import Sam Burgess an 18-minute run off the bench, look by far the biggest threat to Saints' reign as England's premier club.
Exeter, though, made them battle every inch of the way and they were level at 14-14 until Attwood's second-half arrival as a replacement raised Bath's forward tempo.
"We thought the dam would break," Ford added. "The good thing about our side is we have got threats all over the park.
"We are in a good place, but we know how tough the Premiership is. We are not going to get carried away.
"The one thing we have been doing is getting better. We are either first or second tonight, but it doesn't mean anything. We know it is going to be small margins right to the death.
"We don't want to look too far ahead, but we are very happy where we are."
Exeter head coach Rob Baxter said: "I have got no complaints. In the second-half, the momentum of the game swung away from us and we never managed to get it back.
"We lost the forward battle a bit in the second-half, and once that momentum goes, it becomes pretty tough.
"We've come to a top four club and come up a bit short today, but there was certainly at least a bonus point out there for us for most of the game.
"We've had two tough away games over Christmas, and what we have got to do now is double our efforts for a very important game next weekend at home against Gloucester.
"If you want to stay at the top end of the table, you have got to win your home games.
"I've said to the lads if we had come here and won today it wouldn't have won us the Premiership, so we have got to make sure that coming here and losing doesn't have too big of an effect on our season.
"It was a tough game against a team that is playing very well, and we've come up short, but it should not decide our season."