Chris Wilder felt Saturday's loss against Bolton Wanderers at Bramall Lane was a missed opportunity.
Speaking after seeing Gary Madine score the only goal of a game the Blades dominated for long periods, the Blades boss acknowledge the former Sheffield Wednesday marksman was the difference between the two sides on the day.
He remarked: "It's a disappointing result. After 15 minutes you could see what was coming, but we were slashing at balls and we needed to take ourselves away from it.
"Bolton wanted to make it an horrible and ugly game and it was. We conceded a poor goal, there was nothing tactical about it, it wasn't great play, we've just not defended properly and one ball across the face of goal is a tap-in at the back stick.
"That gave them tremendous heart, but after that it was one-way traffic. It's two different ways of playing, they know about us and we know they whack it up to Gary Madine and feed off second balls and if they can get the ball into the box they will.
"I have to admit Madine was excellent and the outstanding player on the pitch. We just couldn't find that bit of quality at the top of the pitch to get back on terms and go on and win the game."
Wilder added: "We created all the chances and I want us to play in the manner we do, it's brought us this far, but we have to marry up results with performances, which have been generally very good in the last five home matches, despite our points return.
"We're excellent from tee and green, but we've got to improve and we know that, especially with the amount of possession, territory and chances we're having.
"When teams do have a bit of pressure or chances on the break, we have to make sure we defend better and stop conceding sloppy goals."