Bonus point offers little consolation for Richards
Speaking after a game played out in freezing temperatures at Kingston Park Stadium, the director of rugby said: “Our understanding of how to attack, and what to use, at times saw us choose the wrong options.
“We showed a touch of naivety at times in some of the things we did.
“We’re a bit too fond at times of playing as individuals, and you can’t be in this league.
“There are a lot of guys injured and away with internationals, but it’s the same for every team and it’s no excuse.
“With the team we had on the field today I thought we could have been more competitive than we were, but we’ll look to improve that and bounce back next weekend at Northampton.”
Crediting the Chiefs for grinding out the result, he added: “Exeter are a side who have that relentless accuracy in everything they do.
“It’s quite a simple game plan and they execute it well, and we just weren’t as accurate as they were.
“That’s why they are where they are, English and European champions, and it’s no coincidence.”
Refusing to be too downcast despite his side dropping into the bottom half of the table for the first time this season, Richards said: “Our three defeats – Bristol, Exeter and London Irish – are probably against the three best and biggest-spending teams in the division, so it’s not panic stations or anything like that.
“We travel down to Northampton on Saturday, and we’ll look forward to that challenge.”