Saracens boss Mark McCall admitted Aviva Premiership leaders Saracens had been involved in a titanic struggle before emerging with a 24-19 triumph over Sale.
Sarries were trailing six minutes from time before their relentless second-half forward pressure resulted in the winning try for lock George Kruis at Allianz Park.
The result gave Saracens eight wins from nine Premiership matches this season, but director of rugby McCall conceded it was far from easy.
He said: "Give Sale a lot of credit. They made us work very hard for it. We weren't at our best in the first half and we gave them some points.
"We had much more energy and dominated the second half but they made us battle for everything we've got."
However, Saracens victory was tarnished by the loss of England Saxons flanker Will Fraser, who was carried off on stretcher in the first half.
Fraser, recently back after summer shoulder surgery, was taken to Barnet hospital, suffering from knee and foot injuries following a tackle.
McCall said: "It's not looking good. He'll be a huge loss. He played magnificently for the club last year, he had an operation at the end of last season and was just coming back to his best."
The rival camps, meanwhile, had differing views on referee JP Doyle's decision to disallow Sale winger Charlie Ingall a second-half try, which could have proved crucial.
Doyle consulted the television match official, who ruled there had been a knock-on early in the build-up.
McCall said: "We felt at the time there was a knock-on and the touch judge missed it but we are glad the system is in place."
His Sale counterpart Steve Diamond responded by saying: "They were lucky to come back 10 phases because he'd not seen it.
"I've seen it once and it looked like it was all right but surely two referees can't get it wrong. But I'm a bit disappointed really."
Diamond was, though, pleased with the heart and endeavour his improving side showed against the leaders.
"We got the game plan right. We just couldn't execute the exit a couple of times getting out of our 22. If we'd done that we'd have won the game," he said.
"There's no point whingeing about it. We got a bonus point and we've got six points out of our last two games which is good for us.
"If somebody had said that two weeks ago we'd have been happy with it. I think Saracens know they've been in a game.
"It was a good performance and it would have been great to get the scalp but it wasn't to be.
"The mark of a good team is to get a bonus point when you lose away from home against the top of the league.
"The confidence levels are high and it's a case of getting the lads to believe they are a good team."