Matt O'Connor: Leicester Tigers 'haven't been good enough'

Leicester Tigers head coach Matt O'Connor
Matt O'Connor was appointed Tigers head coach in March 2017 following the sacking of Richard Cockerill

Under-pressure head coach Matt O'Connor admits Leicester "haven't been good enough" recently but says the "bigger picture" gives reason for optimism.

Tigers have lost nine of their past 11 games, with their only win in five Premiership matches coming against bottom-of-the-table London Irish.

They go to Gloucester on Saturday in eighth place in the table.

O'Connor, 47, said Leicester's high profile meant talk of him getting sacked was "an occupational hazard".

Tigers have not won away from home since October, but the Australian said he did not worry about getting sacked.

"The reality is that it is not anything I can control," O'Connor told BBC Radio Leicester's Tigers Rugby Show.

"The only thing I can invest my energy into is making sure we work really hard, make the improvements we need to and we find the solutions to the problems we are having on the field.

"That takes up all my energy and I don't have any spare energy to be worried about what might or might not happen.

"The expectation around the Tigers is massive and that is a positive thing. Sometimes there is a big picture, but the reality is we have to win; it's a highly competitive environment."

O'Connor's side moved up to third in the Premiership following a 35-27 victory over Sale Sharks in mid-November.

Reasons to be cheerful

He said a combination of factors had led to their slump since that win at Welford Road.

"The first point is that we need to look at ourselves," O'Connor added. "At key stages since we went on that run of six-back-to-back wins we haven't been good enough.

"The second point is that through the Christmas period we had a lot of tough fixtures and if you lose the sort of quality we lost up front in Ellis Genge, Greg Bateman, Dom Barrow, Dominic Ryan and Brendon O'Connor, it puts a massive hole in the group.

"We had a tough away fixture at Wasps, our European commitments, we had Exeter away and Saracens at home; there were massive, massive games in that period. I still think we are not far away.

Leicester Tigers head coach Matt O'Connor
O'Connor first joined the coaching team at Tigers in 2009

"We understand we have a very passionate, well-educated fanbase and we respect that. But at the same time there were circumstances around that.

"We have an opportunity in the next four weeks to turn the season around. We are working incredibly hard and I feel there is good reason to be optimistic."

O'Connor also said a new coach would soon be joining the backroom set-up, which would lead to a reshuffle and "boost the group".

Tigers have not yet replaced forwards coach Richard Blaze, who left early the club in September.

"We took the decision not to rush it because we thought we needed to get the right fit for the environment," O'Connor explained. "Thankfully we have done that.

"I think it will set us up really nicely for the back end of the season."

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