"They really tore us to pieces and it was a very poor performance by us. They dominated us physically and we need to put this game behind us as soon as possible," admitted Cotter.
For his part, Schmidt couldn't have wished for a better Christmas present from his players as he reaches the half-way mark in his first season in charge of the Dubliners. They top Pool 2 by five points and could clinch a quarter-final slot in Round 5.
"We were really up for it and we went charging into them. Collision wise we got the better of them this week, whereas in Clermont it was about 50-50," said Schmidt.
"The win was particularly satisfying because we stopped them from getting a bonus point which means we are 5-4 ahead of them in our head-to-head matches. It was a great end to a good weekend for us with Saracens winning at Racing Metro.
"We are on top at the moment, but things can change very quickly in the Heineken Cup. We have got Saracens next and if we underestimate them it will be to our peril because they showed what they are capable of in France."
Leinster welcomed back talismen Brian O'Driscoll and Jamie Heaslip after injury, although Schmidt admitted after the game that No 8 Heaslip was a mere six minutes away from not playing.
"We didn't make a call on Jamie until after the warm-up. I asked him as he came into the dressing rooms how his ankle was feeling and he told me there was a bit of pain. I asked him if he could give me 40 minutes, and he said yes.
"In the end he played for the full 80 at about 90%. But he was part of a back row that were immense. A lot of the work we did in the week was based on getting stuck into them at the breakdown and they did just that."