Carlos Carvalhal acknowledged that the better team won on the day following the 2-1 defeat to Middlesbrough at Hillsborough.
The visitors overturned a half time deficit to emerge triumphant and Carvalhal said the result was probably correct:
“We lost to the better team today. Obviously I am unhappy, particularly with the second goal because this came from a set piece, but Middlesbrough did deserve to win the game.
“We started the game well, we got our goal, but they were very strong in the second half and showed the qualities of playing in the Premier League last season.
“Now we must get our focus very quickly on the next game against Nottingham Forest on Boxing Day.”
The head coach pointed to the injury list hampering his team and underlined the importance of key players returning to duty.
He said: “I don’t want to talk over and over about injuries but they are the reality.
“We have nine players missing and this will hurt any team in the world from Barcelona and Real Madrid to Manchester City and Manchester United.
“Every team needs its best players otherwise it cannot function in the same way if it is to succeed.
“It is like saying if you drive to London it will take around three hours but if you run out of fuel or the battery goes or the tyre is flat, the journey will take much longer.
“We would like all our players to be fit and strong but we have problems in this moment and the sooner we have all of our players back, the better it will be.”