Ryan not giving up on survival
Worcester boss Dean Ryan has vowed that his team will "fight like mad" when their mission improbable for Aviva Premiership survival continues against Harlequins on Saturday.
The Warriors, without a league win this season and 12 points adrift of Newcastle at the Premiership basement, have just seven games left in their quest to turn things around.
Four of those fixtures are away - at Quins, Newcastle, Bath and Saracens - with home games remaining against Wasps, Exeter and Gloucester. Saturday will be the first anniversary of Worcester's last Premiership victory.
But despite facing seemingly insurmountable odds to retain top-flight status beyond this term, Ryan remains in a resilient mood.
"We've drawn a line under last weekend (Worcester lost 24-12 at home to Sale Sharks) and we will fight like mad against Quins," he said.
"We will try and get the group in the right space as much as we can because there are too many good people here not to make sure they get every chance of fighting against relegation.
"Ironically, we have performed well against some of the top sides like Saracens, Northampton and Leicester. Quins are another great side, so hopefully we can turn in an emotional performance like we did against Leicester.
"Realistically, I think we can stay in the Premiership. I honestly believe we can.
"If we can perform emotionally like we did against Leicester and Northampton, then we can cause an upset. And if we can get a win, things will suddenly look a bit different."
Sale finished 30 points adrift of the Premiership play-off zone last season, but they will maintain their interest in a top-four finish if they beat Wasps at Adams Park on Saturday.
And Sharks centre Sam Tuitupou has highlighted Sale's defence as being an important factor behind their resurgence.
"Our defence is the key," he said.
"We have got a good system going, and we need to maintain it as Wasps are a good attacking team. If we shut them down and apply pressure on attack, I am confident we can come through with a win.
"It is definitely a key game. It takes a bit of pressure off us if we win the game as they are in seventh position. Going into the (three-week) break knowing we are secure in sixth position gives us a great opportunity to kick on.
"We targeted Worcester as a crucial game for us to get a win. We were obviously disappointed after losing the week before (against Saracens), but we knew we had to bounce back, and that is what the best teams do.
"Morale is great. It's good to come in and everyone is smiling and everyone has a good buzz."
Elsewhere on Saturday, league leaders Northampton host Gloucester, having won their last eight league matches on home soil, while London Irish travel to face Exeter at Sandy Park.
Exeter are currently experiencing their worst sequence of Premiership results - five straight defeats - and have dropped from fifth to eighth in the table.
"I don't think we are playing horribly," Exeter skipper Dean Mumm said.
"We are taking steps, and I think we are a better side than we were this time last year, but the frustrating thing is that we are repeating mistakes.
"There is a certain reality that when you lose close matches and some of it is in relation to decision-making, that comes down to the leadership of the group. We have been talking about the fact that everyone has got to be accountable for what they are doing.
"No-one is asking for, or expects, a perfect performance, but there are key elements you have really got to nail, and that is what we have got to do.
"We have got to keep working at the detail and keep driving up standards in training so that the detail is there and it becomes almost a habit, rather than an effort."
Sunday's Premiership action, meanwhile, sees Leicester tackle Newcastle at Kingston Park, where the Falcons will hope to avoid a 10th successive league defeat. They are currently two league losses short of equalling their worst Premiership run of three years ago.