Neil Redfearn says he saw improvements in his side despite Tuesday night’s 2-0 home defeat to Norwich.
After surviving Graham Dorrans’ first-half penalty, which smashed the crossbar, it remained goalless at the break after an evenly-matched opening 45 minutes against the promotion chasers.
But United, looking to respond to the weekend’s loss to Cardiff, were caught out on 57 minutes as former captain Jonny Howson fired the visitors ahead before Dorrans wrapped things up in stoppage time.
"The good thing from our point of view was that the performance was a lot better than Saturday," said Redfearn.
"For long spells, we matched them. The difference is, and the reason why they’re second and we’re mid-table, is at the business end of the pitch.
"We came up against a good side tonight. I thought we made them look average tonight.
"They stepped it up in the second half and we could have perhaps done more when we broke on them.
"We swapped Sam and Charlie about to have crossers rather than shooters coming in on their good foot.
"I thought we played well in spells tonight. I said to them ‘Look, sometimes you come up against a good side and it’s tough for you’.
"Saturday wasn’t acceptable. It was just a poor performance but tonight, we played well.
"We just haven’t got that edge."