Leicester coach Richard Cockerill was in defiant mood after his side stopped Bath’s push for a play-off place in its tracks with a comprehensive 43-20 win at Welford Road.
Cockerill appeared irked that much of the pre-match talk had been on the visitors’ seven-match winning run in the Guinness Premiership and his players seemed to share his sentiments as they delivered a five-try, bonus point win that cemented their position at the top of the table.
Asked if this was their best performance of the season, Cockerill said: "Well, it’s up there because everyone had been talking about Bath and how good they are. But the intensity and physicality of our team is immense, you have to be very good to beat us.
"We took their line-out apart in the second half and our scrum was first-rate. We did get a bit sloppy at times and put ourselves under pressure. We needed to be a bit more clinical at times."
The former England hooker believes that the lack of focus on his side’s own good form, this was their eighth win from their last nine league games, is down to jealousy.
"Everybody wants to knock us because we are good," said Cockerill. "I keep telling the players ‘everybody hates us and we don’t care’. Everyone has been talking about everybody else and this team deserves a bit more respect than that."
Alesana Tuilagi had run in the first try for the Tigers with just 26 seconds on the clock and Bath, given a rough time by the Tigers pack, looked a pale shadow of the team that had rattled off those seven successive league wins.
By the break they were 25-13 behind after conceding two more tries to Tuilagi and lock Geoff Parling. Second-half scores by Anthony Allen and a penalty try confirmed the Tigers’ superiority and Bath could only muster a try in each half by wings Joe Maddock and Matt Banahan.
Bath head coach Steve Meehan was in sober mood after seeing his forwards come off decidedly second best.
"Leicester’s line-out and scrum were very good and we couldn’t get a grip on the game at all," he said. "The other areas weren’t great but it was the set-piece where we had problems.
"I thought at 33-20 down with 20 minutes to go we were still in with a shout. But we went on to lose four line-outs in a row and if you haven’t got the ball you can’t put pressure on the opposition.
"It certainly reinforces the point that in this competition whoever you are playing, home or away, you’ve got to front up and play with a level of intensity that’s going to give you a chance in the match.
"There’s nothing wrong with our general play and with our skill levels. It’s a matter of being intense enough throughout, executing and challenging the opposition."
Meehan also revealed that the elbow injury suffered by centre Olly Barkley, who has been tipped for a place on England’s tour of Australia in June, was not a serious concern.