Mark McCall acclaimed Saracens' determination to put Northampton to the sword in their 57-13 Champions Cup victory at Franklin's Gardens.

The European champions had already secured the bonus point by half-time but they refused to take their foot off the throats of opponents who collapsed to their heaviest home defeat in any competition.

Whereas a 41-3 lead at Twickenham six weeks ago saw Saints fight back to 55-24, this time Saracens were far more ruthless as they crossed a further four times to issue a statement of intent in their pursuit of a third successive Champions Cup title.

"It was definitely our best performance of the year and one of the real pleasing things was how long we sustained it for," director of rugby McCall said.

"The group challenged themselves at half-time to maintain the intensity that was shown in the first half whether we had the ball or they had the ball.

"Jackson Wray and Owen Farrell tackled Courtney Lawes five metres from our goal line and that typified how much it meant to us not to concede a try even though we ended up conceding a try.

"We fought with everything we had, we defended well in the second half and played some really good stuff with the ball in the first half.

"This was a big game. None of us thought that it was going to end up the way that it ended up but when we play like that and when we click like we did, your attack's a lot easier and that was the case in the first half."

Farrell's first half tip tackle on Ben Foden may interest the citing officer, but McCall was more concerned by the England fly-half's subsequent reaction when confronted by Teimana Harrison.

Farrell, who was otherwise outstanding, caught Harrison with a light elbow to the face.

"I thought the tackle was fine, but his reaction when himself and Teimana Harrison were at each other worried me a little bit," McCall said.

Northampton were bullied from the start with Lawes' relentless commitment the only positive feature of an otherwise traumatic evening.

"We came second best. The European champs proved why they are the champions," Saints director of rugby Jim Mallinder said.

"Sometimes you just don't see these things coming, like in the first game at Twickenham. We talked all week about being physical and competing at the set piece, stopping first phase and not letting them get over the advantage line. That was something we didn't do and it was game over by half-time.

"Clearly they are the better team when they play us at this moment in time. We need to figure out why."