Richard Cockerill paid tribute to Freddie Burns after the fly-half orchestrated a convincing Leicester Tigers win over Harlequins at Welford Road.
Tigers moved back into the Aviva Premiership Rugby top four with a 25-6 success, with Burns scoring 20 points on the day.
And Cockerill explained after the game that Burns has been knuckling down with the Leicester coaching staff to improve his decision-making – and it appeared to pay off in the second half.
“He was good all round,” said Cockerill.
“He is working hard with Geordan (Murphy) and Aaron (Mauger) about understanding when to run and when to kick and is improving all the time.
“We were playing within ourselves and we needed to up the ante a bit.
“The first half was a bit flat. We did not execute our set piece well. There were two of three opportunities from scrums and line outs when we did not deliver the ball.
“In the second half we took the game to them and controlled Quins well and they did not look like posing a threat.
“The forwards were better. We carried the ball better. There was more urgency and if we can get that every week we will be in the mix because we have some good players.”
— Leicester Tigers (@LeicesterTigers) November 20, 2016
Cockerill also revealed that centre Manu Tuilagi is approaching a return, with the England international warming up with the rest of the team before the game.
Cockerill added: “We are hoping within the next couple of weeks he will be in the 23. It would be nice would not it?
“You saw him before the game, he looks sharp. I am just waiting for the medics to say he is good to go.”
Harlequins trailed 9-6 at the break, with Nick Evans slotting two penalties, but they failed to score thereafter, with Burns and an Owen Williams try securing a comfortable success.
Full time and a frustrating afternoon for Harlequins as they fall 25-6 away to Leicester pic.twitter.com/RmT3pjWuFQ
— Harlequins (@Harlequins) November 20, 2016
And director of rugby John Kingston admitted that his side had been too indisciplined to hope for a win on the road.
He said: “It was disappointing. We lost our composure and discipline. They scored only one try but we gave away too many penalties and you can’t do that in this environment.
“We have to dust ourselves down because we have a couple of big games coming up. We will prepare right for Bath. We have a good home record this season and we have to take that into Sunday.”
Leicester Tigers: Tait (Worth 64), Thompstone, Betham, Williams (Roberts 71), Brady, Burns, Kitto (Harrison 56), Genge (Ayerza 50), Youngs (Thacker 56), Bateman (Cilliers 66), Slater (Hamilton 63), Fitzgerald, Croft (Kitchener 32), O’Connor, McCaffrey
Harlequins: Morris, Yarde, Marchant (Walker 58), Stanley, Alofa, N Evans (Swiel 58), Dickson (Mulchrone 76), Murphy (O Evans 49), Buchanan, Collier (Jones 70), Matthews (South 70), Horwill (Shields 71), Wallace, Ward (Naoupu 66), Chisholm
Penalties: Burns 5
Drop Goals: Burns
Penalties: N Evans 2
Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys