Jim Mallinder insists Northampton Saints will improve in 2013/14

Northampton Saints director of rugby Jim Mallinder says they will improve on the 2012/13 season, spurred on by defeat in the Premiership final.

Saints lost to Leicester Tigers 37-17 in their first ever appearance in the end-of-season Twickenham showpiece.

Mallinder told BBC Radio Northampton: "Leicester are the model. They've been here nine consecutive seasons. It's our first time, but we want more.

"It's much better to compete in a final than not to get there at all."

Northampton made 109 tackles to Leicester's 66 in trying to keep their opponents at bay following Dylan Hartley's red card on the stroke of half-time.

"I'm enormously proud," Mallinder continued. "It was a gutsy performance.

"We will look back with pride on the run we've had and particularly the win away at Saracens and to be competitive here.

"Hopefully the experience will do us good."

Saints are now set to lose several players in the summer, including first-team regulars Soane Tonga'uiha and Brian Mujati.

However, Alex Corbisiero, George North, Glenn Dickson, Rob Verbakel, Salesi Ma'afu and Kahn Fotuali'i will all be new arrivals at Franklin's Gardens, and Mallinder is convinced they will be stronger.

"Even though we're losing some good players, we're bringing in a lot of good, new players and we think we can get better," he said.

Clermont Auvergne backs coach Alex King is also joining Saints next season.