Dean Smith claimed Aston Villa threw away three points after losing to 10-man Sheffield United.
United registered only their fourth league win thanks to David McGoldrick’s seventh goal of the season and Smith felt his side created enough chances to win.
“It’s a setback and frustrating,” said the Villa boss. “I felt we were better than Sheffield United and should have won the game quite comfortably.
“We didn’t take our big opportunities and we weren’t good enough. We lacked quality in the final third.
“We needed to be more patient and we put too many aimless balls into the box in the final 15 minutes.
“It’s a tough one to take.”
It was the first Premier League game the Blades have won with 10 men in 14 attempts and Chris Wilder joked he would celebrate for his players.
“I’ve just said to the players I’ll celebrate for them,” said the Blades boss. “We have a big game on Saturday and all the beers they would have drunk, I’ll drink them!”
Wilder felt aggrieved to be on the wrong end of a big decision for the third game running against Villa when Phil Jagielka was dismissed for fouling Anwar El Ghazi.
“Some of the decisions have been real headscratchers,” he said. “I thought it was quite harsh.”
After winning without Jack Grealish at Leeds on Saturday, Villa missed his creativity last night.
They played some nice football and John McGinn and Bertrand Traore missed good chances.
They might have had a penalty when Kean Bryan barged over Ollie Watkins as he ran through.
The Blades showed character and scored on 30 minutes through a goal which was all down to McGoldrick’s desire.
He played a fine diagonal ball to George Baldock on the right and when the wing-back cut inside and crossed to the back post, he was there to score off the underside of the bar to register United’s first in five hours and 35 minutes of league action.
Traore should have levelled and he did the hard bit, weaving his way through the Blades defence Ricky Villa-like, only to waste his fine work by shooting wide.
Villa got closer and Watkins headed against the angle of post and bar from Matt Targett’s cross.
Jagielka’s lack of pace against Villa’s quick attack was always a worry for United and it cost them on 57 minutes when he was sent off for denying El Ghazi a goalscoring opportunity.
Referee Rob Jones initially booked Jagielka, but dismissed him after reviewing the incident on the pitchside monitor and deciding the former England defender was the last man.
Villa were poor against United’s 10 men and Aaron Ramsdale’s save from Ezri Konsa in the last minute was all they could muster as the Blades dug in brilliantly.
United are 12 points from safety and McGoldrick claims their battling display shows they are still fighting.
“We showed massive character,” he said. “We all care for this club and we’re still fighting.
“It’s not over until the fat lady sings.”
Sign up to the Mirror Football email here for the latest news and transfer gossip