Jack King felt that Preston North End lacked the necessary attacking bite to hurt Sheffield United in their weekend Deepdale defeat.
A goal late in the first half from one-time £5.5m striker Dave Kitson settled the contest in the Blades’ favour.
While North End saw plenty of the ball, the closest they came to an equaliser was Paul Huntington’s injury-time header which was superbly saved by visiting keeper George Long.
Midfielder King told the Evening Post: “It was a game of few chances and ultimately Sheffield United were more clinical than us.
“They took their chance at the end of the first half and after that we weren’t good enough to break them down.
“There was the header from Hunts late in the game which their keeper saved, but overall we have to be better than that.
“We can’t rely on just one header at the end to get us back into the game. We had long spells of possession and didn’t capitalise.
“In terms of attacking, we tried to get Stuart Beavon playing in front of them so he could run at their defence.
“That worked sometimes but really we didn’t create any clear-cut chances. Sometimes we flattered to deceive, in that we kept the ball well but didn’t get it into areas to hurt them.
“We like to get the ball down and play, which we did, but we didn’t do it well enough or high enough up the pitch.
“Give Sheffield United credit, they defended well and got the goal. They made it hard for us to break them down, and if the shoe was on the other foot, we’d be saying it was a job well done and a great away performance.
“I thought they showed on Saturday why they’re at the top end of the league, and we have to emmulate that.”
King started the game on the right-hand side of midfield, the fifth different position in which the versatile 27-year-old has operated this season.
Now he will be hoping to have done enough to earn another starting place in tomorrow night’s visit to Scunthorpe.
Said King: “It’s good that we’ve got the game straight away rather than having to stew on this defeat all week.
“The manager will get us prepared today and we’ll be looking to take the game to Scunthorpe.
“We just need to be more clinical.
“You look at what Dave Kitson did on Saturday – he got one chance and scored.
“This season we’ve shown we can score plenty of goals, and we need to get back to doing that.”
Meanwhile, North End have landed a home tie against Yeovil Town in the first round proper of the FA Cup.
The Glovers will visit Deepdale on November 3, their second trip to these parts in a little more than a month following North End’s 3-2 victory over them in the league three weeks ago.