George North had one of his best-ever games for Northampton Saints despite their defeat by Wasps, according to director of rugby Jim Mallinder.
Wales wing North scored his side's first try at Franklin's Gardens.
"When we play well our back three get hold of the ball a lot and I think George North had one of his best games for Saints," said Mallinder.
"I know he's had some criticism for some of his performances, but (against Wasps) he was tremendous."
North's try to finish a fine team move was his second of the season, having scored just five for his club in all competitions in the entire 2015-16 campaign.
However, he could not stop his side falling to a third defeat in four league games this season.
Mallinder admitted it had been "a bad start" for Saints, but that they could take positives going into next weekend's match against last season's Premiership finalists Exeter.
"I think in the first half we really dominated, we should have scored maybe three or four times," he told BBC Radio Northampton.
"We just couldn't finish it and probably had line fever at times. Likewise in the second half; at one stage we would have had a four-on-one walk in if we'd have got the ball out and passed it.
"We could have easily won that game, we're probably good enough to do that, but we didn't. So we've just got to keep going."