Cunningham laments slow start but praises St Helens spirit

St Helens coach Keiron Cunningham was left to lament a slow start as his side slipped to defeat to Salford – but he did praise the way his side stuck in the fight before losing out 22-14.

The Saints were hunting a third successive victory following back-to-back wins heading into the game at the AJ Bell Stadium, but they could not overturn an 8-0 half-time deficit despite a second-half fightback.

And Cunningham admitted he was frustrated with his side’s opening exchanges.

“We’ve got to start better,” he said. “I thought our opening 25 minutes weren’t great – and by that I meant we had no control. But credit to the players, they hung in there without being at their best.”

Cunningham also admitted the loss of Theo Fages in the opening set of the game to a head injury was a significant blow.

“Theo coming off hurt us,” he admitted. “We had to move about a lot and we were a bit clunky so we shuffled it at half-time.

“I presume it’s a head injury; he’s a tough kid.”

And Cunningham insisted afterwards that with his side mounting a late fightback, it was a game that either side could have won.

“Wins and losses are part of sport. But this year, Super League is exceptionally level.

“Everyone can beat everyone; they’ve beaten Cas and Widnes and got some good wins, including one here – but it could have gone both ways, if we’d have taken our opportunities it would have gone the other way – but that’s sport.”

“We had a chance of winning the game but we got a little bit panicky; we came up with some plays which hurt us at the end and they caught us.”