Mallinder: Nadolo was outstanding but Northampton did 'pretty well' in defeat
Northampton boss Jim Mallinder took some positives from his side's 26-17 Champions Cup defeat to Montpellier but admitted they failed to deal with Nemani Nadolo's brilliance.
Giant wing Nadolo was named man of the match as he scored two tries and set up another to send the Saints to yet another defeat in what has been a nightmare European campaign.
Nadolo's brace plus efforts from Kelian Galletier and Jacques Du Plessis gave the French side a bonus-point success which means they can still make the quarter-finals as one of the three best runners-up, if results go their way on Saturday.
Already-eliminated Northampton, meanwhile, scored tries through captain Lee Dickson and replacement Tom Kessell but in Nadolo, they found a man they just could not stop.
"It's hard to reflect, that's something that takes a bit of time but I'm thinking about that performance and we had quite a few young lads in there up against a quality side," director of rugby Mallinder said.
"I think we did pretty well to be honest. We had a few chances and in the second half we probably didn't win enough ball and there was one outstanding performance from Nadolo. I thought he was absolutely on fire today so a lot of credit has to go to him and the way he played."
Northampton were already out of Europe before the game at the Altrad Stadium, but while they suffered a fourth defeat from their six Pool Four games, they did play some impressive rugby.
England forwards Teimana Harrison and Paul Hill impressed, but that failed to make up for heavy away defeats to Castres and Leinster suffered earlier in the competition.
"We've had a mixed campaign. We haven't been at our best by a long way and we want to be consistently good in Europe," Mallinder added.
"We've won two home games against Castres and Montpellier and they're two quality sides. We have gone away from home and been beaten at Castres and Leinster.
"That was a disappointment for us. We've put our bodies on the line and we've won our last four games, but we're disappointed to lose tonight. We're not going to get down about it though and we'll look forward to the rest of the Premiership campaign."
Nadolo, who could yet have taken his Montpellier side to the last eight, said: "To come home with a win and the four tries is really pleasing. We knew we had a job to do and we're pleased with that.
"We had to win tonight and we've got our confidence back. I'm improving week in, week out and I'm playing with some of the best in Europe. It probably wasn't my best game, but one I'm pleased to help the team get a result in."