DEAN Ryan believes the battling qualities of his bottom-of-the-table Worcester Warriors side will hold them in good stead for the rest of the season.

Despite having captain Jonathan Thomas sent off and Leonardo Senatore and Sam Betty sin-binned in the 30-14 Aviva Premiership defeat against Northampton Saints at Franklin’s Gardens, Ryan was proud of his players’ efforts.

He felt they were more than a match for the Saints until Thomas’ dismissal and can look forward to the remaining eight games with optimism.

Ryan said: “Northampton are the top of the league, they’re packed with internationals and have got a huge forward pack, so we were always going to be under pressure. We weren’t going to come here and dominate.

“We put a pretty good shift in up until the point of the red card. Would we have lasted? I don’t know, but I would have liked to have fought it out with eight forwards rather than seven.

“We did pretty well not to fall away. They were looking for a bonus point at the end, we could have just easily rolled over, but we didn’t and that’s quite important.

“It’s only a small thing but, with where we are, it’s quite important and I think people who come and watch Worcester and support them should recognise it because that counts.

“When there’s nothing on it, how hard you’re prepared to fight counts.

“It wasn’t a day for talking about individual performances, it was for talking about people being prepared to put a shift in. Dean Hammond came off the bench and threw himself around, as did Rob O’Donnell.

“All we’re asking every week is that we fight hard for a Worcester shirt and we are now. It’s been well publicised when we’ve let ourselves down, but we’re starting to get some consistency with the team and some consistent emotional performances.

“If we can do some technical things off the back of that, then we might cause someone a problem.”

The Sixways boss added: “Managing emotional response and discipline is a huge challenge. We did a couple of silly things, but I’d rather see a team at the moment that’s really trying to do things emotionally, and then we’ve got to live with some of the rough edges round the outside.

“We didn’t get anything out of Saturday result-wise, but we did as a group in terms of being a little bit tighter. We know everyone is prepared to fight and we move on to next week.

“We’re not a top-of-the-league side, but if we keep putting in emotional performances, we’re going to cause someone a problem soon. If we get one win, then everyone else is going to start looking behind them and we’ll see where it goes from there.”