21st February 2014
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After narrow back-to-back home defeats against Northampton Saints and Bath, Baxter admitted he had been left "frustrated" by his side's displays and that certain issues needed to be addressed.

"I don't mind admitting that there has been a huge amount of frustration around the place following the last couple of results," said Baxter. "I know it sounds difficult to say that sometimes, especially when you say it was Northampton and it was Bath, two of the top performing teams in the Premiership, but the truth is it is the international period, we were at home in both those games, and to only get two losing bonus points was disappointing.

"I think what disappointed me the most was the way the points slipped away from us. That's not taking anything away from Northampton and Bath, they came here and they found their ways to win, but we do feel we under-performed. And sometimes if you feel like that, you have to stop and say something about it and look to address it. 

"We've had a good week looking at some of those things already and now going to Saracens is not the ideal thing to necessarily try and put things right, but what it does give us is a great test because they are a very well organised, disciplined and well structured team, who are this season finding a way to expand beyond that and becoming a very good attacking force.

"I think everyone is aware of the structure and aggressive defence that they have backed their game on, but there is a lot more to them that that. It's not as simple as trying to attack their defences; they score a lot of points as well, so it's a great challenge for us."

Baxter added: "What I've said to our guys this week is as long as I see our level of performance go up a notch or two in the areas we have addressed than a) that will give us a great chance to get something out of the game and b) it will show a level of progress which I want to see.

"I want to see us progressing in several areas and if that happens then we will be a better team across the rest of the season. If you look at our fixtures, the number we have left, the number of home games we have to play, I will be very disappointed if we are not fighting our way to the top half of the table come the end of the season."

As has been the case for much of this season, the Chiefs have remained hugely competitive in all but two fixtures (Saints and Harlequins away) and Baxter feels it only needs his team to cut out the odd mistake here or there to turn narrow losses into victories.

"It's a difficult one for us," he explained. "Simply because when you talk about what signifies improvement, if you look at the fixtures - we are virtually there or thereabouts in every fixture we've played. I can only think of Saints away on the opening day and the game at Twickenham against Quins' where the game has got away from us and you can say we didn't really deserve anything out of the game. 

"Other than that, if you look at every other game we have been hugely competitive on the scoreboard and with what has happened on the pitch, so to not ram a few more home is disappointing because that would signify some significant improvement and the points would show it. 

"As it is, the performances have shown a consistent level across all competitions, but we have not rammed home one or two moments in each game that could have improved our season. That's something we've discussed this week and it's something we aim to put right between now and the end of the season.

"We're not going to panic too much about it at this stage, it's more about addressing some of the issues that we have had and putting more pressure onto other teams. By that I mean, we have had field position and given up silly penalties; lost a line-out or gone to sleep at a scrum. We've done that for a couple of weeks now and you only have to look at how close some of the scores have been and said had we cancelled out one of those areas, we would have probably won a game.

"Right now, we are making numerous errors like that and we have to reduce it. That's within our hands, so we have to work hard and make sure we do address those issues, starting with Sunday's game at Saracens."

Team news ahead of kick-off for the Chiefs sees Baxter sticks with an unchanged pack, but behind there are changes. Henry Slade comes in at inside centre, Phil Dollman switches to full-back and there is a start for Tongan international Fetu'u Vainikolo on the right wing.

On the bench, Slade's promotion offers a first Premiership opportunity for Welshman Ceri Sweeney, whilst experienced Kiwi centre Jason Shoemark is also named in the travelling 23

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