Sale director of rugby Steve Diamond is thrilled to see his players battling it out at the right end of the table for a change after they consolidated sixth place in the Aviva Premiership with victory over Wasps.
A 21-17 defeat of their seventh-placed opponents extended the gap between the two sides to eight points, with tries from Dan Braid and Jonny Leota and three penalties and a conversion from Danny Cipriani giving Sale a deserved win.
"I'm delighted with the result. This time last season we were looking at being in the Championship," said Diamond.
"We had a good start before we had a rocky patch, conceding 17 points, but we then became dominant in the scrums to win the match."
With half an hour to go, Diamond changed his entire front row - a decision which turned the game in Sale's favour.
"It was always our intention from the start to do this, as I believed our forward bench was stronger than theirs," Diamond said of the decision.
Wasps conceded an early 10 points after Joe Simpson was yellow carded for a high tackle on Nick Macleod, who left the field with concussion.
A red card could have been a possibility but Diamond was content with the referee's assessment.
He said: "It was innocent more than anything and I think the officials got it about right."
Wasps rallied to take a 17-10 lead at one point with a try from Simpson and four penalties from Joe Carlisle before falling away badly.
Director of rugby David Young had few complaints, and said: "Sale deserved to win; they were a lot smarter than us.
"We gave away an easy 10 points at the start, which seems to be our Achilles heel.
"We then had a lot of pressure and came away with only four penalties, but we need to be coming away with seven points not three from those situations. We are missing our X-factor players in Christian Wade, Tom Varndell and Elliot Daly.
"Sale changed their entire front row and it made a huge difference. We struggled to cope and gave away three silly penalties. They were far superior at the kicking game."