Chris Wilder felt his side fully deserved to beat Middlesbrough at Bramall Lane on Wednesday evening.
Speaking after Richard Stearman's powerful header won it for the Blades, the manager remarked: "It was a good three points, after what happened at Villa.
"The players might have felt a little sorry for themselves as we had the blows of Chris Basham not playing and Jack O'Connell's injury, we had to shuffle the pack a little but it was still an even game in the first half.
"We created as much as them, but I felt we needed to change the way we played - there's more than one way to win a game of football.
"We try to play through teams but if that doesn't work we can go over the top and a little bit more direct and that's what we did second half. I was delighted with the lads' attitude because it is not easy against Middlesbrough."
Wilder added: "Second half we played well enough to win a tight game. We stood up to their physical challenge, especially with what happened on Friday night.
"I thought in the second half only one team would win in. It quickly changes around, we lost George, Jack and Bash, but Crainie was outstanding.
"Kieran Dowell was too as he played in that position for the first time in his life showing how adaptable he is and that he has a great attitude."