The Warriors were leading 12-9 with ten minutes to go before their hopes of sealing a first ever last-eight berth with a game to spare were hit by a yellow card to star full-back Stuart Hogg and a late Francis Saili try in the corner which secured the points for Munster and their progress to the knockout stage.
Leicester were later eliminated from Europe with a heavy defeat by Racing 92 in Paris and Townsend is sure that his troops have what it takes to complete the task of getting out of Pool 1 by winning at Welford Road on Saturday and being one of the best three runners-up.
“Once the guys get recovered and back in camp with us [tonight] it will be about targeting the last game before the Six Nations,” said Townsend, pictured. “We will give it everything and see what happens. We’re on 14 points now and will be second in the pool. When you look at the other pools, others can’t get to that 18-point figure.”
Exeter’s 31-19 win over Ulster last night means that the second-placed teams in Pools 4 and 5 could not overhaul Glasgow if they win at Leicester.
The picture is looking clearer and rosier for Edinburgh in the second-tier Challenge Cup after their excellent 23-18 win at Harlequins all but guaranteed they will top Pool 5. They face Romanian minnows Timisoara Saracens in their first match at a revamped Myreside on Friday night when a win will seal a home quarter-final.
Townsend refused to place any blame on stand-off Finn Russell for opting to keep attacking the Munster line in the dying stages rather than go for a drop goal which could have snatched the win back for Glasgow. “He went back in the pocket. Going for a drop goal was one option, another was to keep playing and either force a penalty or get a try,” said the coach.
“Munster did well to get ahead and it is very hard to score against a team when you are a man down and they have great defence.”
Man of the match Tim Swinson is sure that Russell will be unruffled by the episode and ready to deliver when it matters this weekend. “Finn is one of the most chilled-out guys I’ve ever met,” said the Scotland lock. “I don’t think I’ve seen anything faze him. He is a fantastic guy to have around.
“He can be a little bit frustrating at times but he is brilliant to play with. It’s nice to know what he’s going to do some of the time. He is disappointed because he expects high standards of himself. We trust him to make decisions. He made the wrong one this time but it’s more a question of what can we do to be better than pointing the finger.”
Townsend said that he expects to have pretty much the same squad at his disposal for this weekend’s trip to the east Midlands, although he said there was a chance that injured scrum-half and co-captain Henry Pyrgos could be back in the selection mix.