WORCESTER Warriors favourite Chris Pennell insisted the “fun” was back after returning to the team in the 16-10 Gallagher Premiership defeat to Northampton Saints.

But Pennell appreciates there is plenty of hard work in training ahead for Worcester who must take more of their chances for any hope of a much-needed win from the visit of Gloucester on Saturday, March 21.

Third-from-bottom Warriors are on a six-game losing streak in the Premiership with five narrow defeats resulting in bonus points.

Stalwart full-back Pennell said after another close loss at Sixways: “Out there playing it was fun. We actually played some rugby.

“The way we went about the game was different to how we’ve been.

“So yes result-wise it was close and disappointing. But the style in which we actually represented ourselves was really positive. If we can close off even three of those opportunities we created then it’s a very different game.”

Warriors now have two weeks without a game before tackling their M5 rivals at headquarters.

Worcester-born former England international Pennell continued: “What’s important now is to rest and recover.

“The guys have been involved in two six-day turnarounds on the bounce which takes its toll. So it (the break) has come at a really good time.

“We are in at the back end of this week and in a fortunate position to be prepping for a game with an extra couple of sessions.

“We’ll look to kick on from what we showed out there (against Saints). As a group we came together really well and played some good rugby.

“If we can focus on closing off those opportunities leading into Gloucester we should be in a good place.

“Although we’re sort of midway through the season you’d argue we’re just starting to click and connect within our attacking shape.

“To take that next step it’s about time together and those opportunities in the week in training.

“The more times we can put ourselves in those kinds of positions the more of those opportunities will start clicking at the weekend.

“It’s a very different-looking game if we convert a couple of those in the first half and a couple of those in the second.

“We are so close to it. We’re one pass away in the first half from scoring some really good tries. If we can start converting those it looks very different.”

Pennell admitted the Premiership losing run can play on the mind after Friday’s latest defeat.

He said: “I guess when you are under pressure and looking for that result the temptation is to not give it (the pass) and go conservative.

“But with the group and coaches we’ve got we want to push that brand of rugby.

“It’s where we’re more comfortable as a team. There’s some real positives to take from it.

“The step is definitely forward. We’re understandably disappointed but we’ll look forward to Gloucester.

“It is frustrating because we know we are good enough to win these games.

“The frustration comes from not being able to convert the opportunity.

“The more exposure we get to those situations the better we will become at converting.

“There shouldn’t be doubt in what we’re doing. We’re on the right path but the more opportunity we get down that path the better we will be.”

Pennell, 32, realises the senior players have to keep encouraging their younger team-mates during the tough run.

He added: “Losing isn’t fun for anyone. Everyone likes to win.

“The important thing is to keep encouraging these guys to play the way they are and to keep expressing themselves the way they have been and not to go into their shells.

“Ultimately that’s how we’re going to be successful going forward. The minute they start feeling pressure about the way they are naturally playing that’s when they can take backward steps.

“As senior players we have to make sure they keep playing with the confidence they’re showing and as soon as those positive results start coming it will reassure them they’re doing the right thing.”