BATH director of rugby Todd Blackadder described his team's performance as "crap" after Saturday's 32-9 Aviva Premiership defeat at Sale.

The visitors went into the break 9-6 ahead at the AJ Bell Stadium, courtesy of the boot of Rhys Priestland, but they struggled in the second half as the Sharks raised the intensity.

Blackadder credited Sale for their second-half display but admitted his players failed to meet the required standards.

"You take your medicine," he said. "Sale played really well, they played over the top of us, they were direct, they were magnificent, but we were crap. We were just crap.

"I thought Sale were superb in the second half. They hit all the right pressure points, they were aggressive at the breakdown and they deserved their win.

"Even in the first half, off first-phase lineouts in the middle of the field, we just missed that clean-out and it's not good enough at this level.

"We didn't build any pressure at all and, when Sale were down in our half, we just melted penalty after penalty after penalty. The breakdown was a key focus for us, as well as discipline, and we just coughed up in those two areas."

Josh Strauss, Byron McGuigan, James O'Connor and Will Cliff touched down for the hosts after the interval.

Sale boss Steve Diamond believes the Sharks are in a positive position heading into the second half of the season following their bonus-point victory.

They moved up to eighth in the table after Saturday's results and are just four points behind fourth placed Saracens, who play Leicester on Sunday.

Diamond said: "We need to go to Gloucester next week and be competitive. With that bonus point we've got exactly the number of points I thought we would have at this stage and we've got to have a good second half of the season to push for that top six, top four.

"We've got fantastic players, we've got a squad unlike we've ever had before where Marland Yarde, (Josh) Beaumont and Will Addison, who are coming back from injury, probably wouldn't get on the bench at this moment in time."

With the Sharks putting in a much-improved display after the break, Diamond praised the experienced players for turning it around.

"It's difficult for teams to come and beat us if I'm honest, but a lot of the credit for the second-half performance isn't to me and the coaches - it's to the players," he added. "AJ MacGinty and Jono Ross grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck at half-time.

"I'm delighted really. It's as if I've not been in there!"