Coach Nathan Brown refused to blame the severe heat for St Helens’ 42-0 First Utility Super League defeat to Catalan Dragons in Perpignan on Saturday.
The French side ran in eight tries on a sweltering afternoon to forget for the Super League leaders.
Brown, however, refused to use the 30-degree celsius temperature to explain his team’s poor showing.
He said: “We can’t use that (the heat) as an excuse. Obviously at the end, we were out on our feet. We paid a fair price in the first half for our effort, our ball retention was poor and their defensive effort was good and we did a lot of work.
“At the end of the game, I thought we needed to be better with the effort levels. Even though we couldn’t win the game, we needed to be better with the effort that we showed.”
Saints’ miserable afternoon was compounded by an injury to full-back Jonny Lomax, who limped out of the game with 16 minutes remaining with what appeared to be a serious knee injury.
Brown added: “I thought we competed well in the first half, especially given how many turnovers we gave away.
“I give due respect to the team we played, they have got a lot of good players back and since they’ve all come back, they’re playing very well, and they will win plenty of games here but parts of our effort definitely needed to be better at the end.”
Catalan Dragons boss Laurent Frayssinous was understandably delighted with his side’s performance.
He said: “To keep St Helens to nil, that means something. It means you have a good attitude, not only the attitude, but also delivering quality. It means that you have trust in your team-mates, in the game plan and in the principles in defence.
“I’m very happy with the defence and the game plan was executed pretty well.”
Frayssinous added: “We’ve spoken about having 17 guys all on the same page, today we got that. I think that is one of the most complete performances since I have taken over the team.
“It could be that one, sometimes we like to get carried away. But there has been speculation over the past few weeks about the future for me, and I think that is a good answer and a good reply to all the critics.
“That is not important for me, yes it keeps them quiet for a week or so but I’m focussed on my job and how I can improve the club and how I can help improve the players to keep improving.”