Owen Farrell's difficulties off the kicking tee in Saracens' tense 39-31 Gallagher Premiership victory over Bristol were just a blip, according to director of rugby Mark McCall.

Farrell missed five conversions and a penalty at StoneX Stadium but by outscoring the Bears 7-4 on the penalty count, Saracens made sure it was not a costly series of errors from the England captain.

It is the first time in his professional career that Farrell failed to complete six kicks but McCall felt he excelled in other departments to inflict a fifth successive loss on Bristol.

"That was one of those days. I don't think we'll see that again. He was at the heart of the turnaround in the second half," McCall said.

Saracens trailed 21-15 at half-time despite having built 10-0 and 15-7 leads and it took a strong final quarter to spare their blushes against a side that did not know when they were beaten.

"It was a pretty ordinary first half and a better second half," added McCall.

"Over the course of the season as much as you want to play at a high level all the time, if you're able to play better in the second half that's a good thing.

"We were flat in a number of areas and I don't know why that was, even now. We were two tries to nil up and then three tries to one, but it didn't feel as though there was as much energy as there had been the week before.

"I give the players a lot of credit for doing something about it in the second half, which we dominated for long periods. We found a way to win."

Bristol boss Pat Lam admired the determination shown by his side having made a poor start in their quest for a first victory in north London.

"I know we've lost the last five but in all the games have shown fight and created opportunities to win, which meant they could easily have gone the other way," Lam said.

"We only operated on 30 per cent ball in the second half because we were turning the ball over too quickly.

"We had every reason when we had three tries against us to sit back and let them play, but the boys came back and took the lead at half-time. It was neck and neck in the second half."

*copy from PA.