BATH head coach Mike Ford insists his side will have to learn quickly from Friday's defeat by Sale if they are to keep their Aviva Premiership ambitions on track.

Ford's men slipped to a 12-11 defeat - their second home league reverse on the trot - as the Sharks stole a potentially vital triumph.

Bath's Ross Batty scored the only try of the match with five minutes to go but George Ford missed the conversion – as well as two late drop goal attempts – and the home side had claims for a penalty try after Sale conceded six penalties in the same sequence of 10 scrums.

But Sale chalked up a sixth win in seven, just a week after knocking Northampton Saints off top spot and with four league games to go, including two against play-off rivals Northampton and Harlequins, the tension is ratcheting up for Bath.

Weekend wins for Leicester and Quins saw the former leapfrog Ford's men into third place while Quins moved to within striking distance six points behind with Sale just four adrift of the Rec side.

“I think it was a perfect game for them, a stop start game, they slowed it down and the conditions suited them,” said Ford, whose side turn their attention to European matters with Brive the visitors in Sunday's Amlin Challenge Cup quarter final (2pm).

“There was some time wasted with a lot of scrums and we didn’t get anything from it.

“Fair play to Sale, their defence was strong. We got frustrated I think and we’ve got to deal with that and get better when we play teams that employ those tactics.

“Steve (Diamond) is a canny director of rugby, fair play to him he came with a game plan. 

“But we’ll stay tight and we’ve got four more games to go but we’ve got to learn and come up with the answers in games like that.”

Tickets are still available for Sunday's quarter final. Call the ticket office on 0844 448 1865.