Leicester Tigers players need to put pressure on themselves if they are to qualify for the Aviva Premiership Rugby semi-finals, according to back-row Jordan Crane.
Tigers slipped out of the play-off spots after a disappointing loss at Sale Sharks last weekend and Crane wants to avoid being the first Tigers squad not to make the play-offs since 2004, when they finished fifth.
The back-rower bemoaned losses to Newcastle Falcons and Harlequins, as well as both reverses against Sale, where he felt they could have picked up more points.
The 29-year-old said: “We will have underachieved if we don’t make the play-offs so we need to put that pressure on ourselves. We do not want to be that side that doesn’t make the play-offs.
“We need to win four from four now but at least it is in our own hands.
“It has been a frustrating season for the team because at times we looked like a top side but then we have let games slip.
“The games against Sale and then away at Newcastle and Quins we let them go, that could have been four more wins and we’d be closer to the top of the table.”
Last weekend’s 27-20 defeat to Sale saw Tigers’ bitter rivals Northampton Saints replace them in the top four.
Saints have won fewer matches than their fellow East Midlands side but have racked up more bonus points than Tigers.
However Crane believes his side have the form to get over the line and potentially reach another Grand Final.
He said: “The Sale loss was a shock and we were disappointed not to win, we should have won that game.
“It was our own errors that cost us though, so if we can put those right then we did play some good rugby, we just need to keep consistent over 80 minutes.”
Crane – in his tenth season with the Tigers – missed the start of the season with a knee injury and has made just six league starts this campaign.
The former Tigers captain and four-time league winner has featured more regularly in recent weeks though and is pleased to be playing his part in the top-four push.
He added: “Personally it has been a bit frustrating not to be involved every week but the last few weeks have been nice to get back starting and playing.
“We have tended to bring our best performances in the bigger games this season so if we can do that for the next four games then we will be in a good position.
“It’s great having the international guys back in the squad too, Ben Youngs and Dan Cole are buzzing and for Manu to win a Grand Slam with where he was with injury late last year then it’s great to have them back and we’ll want to get them on the pitch as soon as possible.”
If you want to be at the world's biggest club rugby final, this year's Aviva Premiership Rugby Final on 28 May, tickets are still available from premiershiprugby.com/final