Bristol Bears have 'lots more to do' - Lam

Bristol Bears director of rugby Pat Lam during the pre-match warm-up against Saracens
Pat Lam led Bristol to top spot in the Premiership in 2021 [Getty Images]

Bristol Bears have "lots more to do" to get back to challenging at the top of every competition, says director of rugby Pat Lam.

The Bears sit seventh in the Premiership but can still claim a top-four place if they beat Harlequins in their final match on Saturday and other results go their way.

Bristol finished top of the Premiership in 2021 but have ended up 10th and ninth the past two campaigns.

"[There's] lots more to do - we want to be challenging in every competition we play," Lam told BBC Radio Bristol.

"We were there at one stage and we dropped off. This is just the start of where we want to get to."

Defeat by Saracens in Bristol's final home game of the regular season at Ashton Gate last weekend ended a run of six Premiership wins for the club that stretched back to December.

While Bristol need to win at Twickenham Stoop and hope Exeter and Sale, above them, lose if they are to secure a place in the play-offs, Lam insisted this campaign is evidence of progress regardless of the result.

"We're in the mix which is a testament to the good work the boys have done all season," Lam said.

"We've come through some tough times. It's been thoroughly enjoyable the last 10, 12 weeks, since Christmas. We've already planned pre-season for next year.

"We're going to have a smaller squad, a lot of young, exciting players coming through. That just continues our journey but in a way that we've got certainty of what we want to do and how we want to play."

Lam believes the closeness of this year's Premiership top-four race - just 11 points separating leaders Northampton from seventh-placed Bears - has been "good for the game" but says his only focus is on the final-day performance against Quins.

"It's all about playing your best rugby when it counts - and this is when it counts," he added.

"At the end of it when that full-time whistle goes around five o'clock we'll see what that table looks like.

"The only control we have is our performance and that's what we're working on."