Sheffield United manager Micky Adams felt as though his side had been "mugged" after Marvin Emnes' late goal gave Middlesbrough a 2-1 win at Bramall Lane.
Emnes raced clear in the 89th minute to net Boro's winner just when it looked like the points would be shared after United's Matthew Lowton first-half header had earlier cancelled out Matthew Bates' 18th-minute strike.
The result leaves the Blades bottom of the Championship table, much to the dismay of Adams, who said: "It's a cruel game - I feel as though we've been mugged, really. There are a lot of disappointed lads in the dressing room."
He added: "We had chances throughout the game and caused them all sorts of problems. We feel particularly hard done by regarding a couple of incidents involving the referee. There's no consistency there. I think he'll look back at it and think he should have done better.
"The lad (Marvin Emnes) who scored the winner shouldn't have even been on the pitch because he kicked out at Michael Doyle. We had enough chances and shouldn't have been chasing the game in the last five minutes."
On his side's chance of avoiding relegation, he added: "I think I'd look daft if I said we hadn't got a problem. We've got to believe that we can get out of it, starting with Tuesday's game against Cardiff, although it does look an impossible task."
Middlesbrough manager Tony Mowbray was delighted with the win, saying : "It's great that we've got a victory. I think they feel hard done by.
"Sheffield United are still very much fighting and it won't be through lack of desire if they fail to pick up the points they need. We knew we'd have to come here and compete and ultimately we came here to do that job. I always felt we had quality on the break and we could score.
"We've played some nice football over the last few months. The players are fighting for each other and they had to do that against a determined Sheffield United team.
"It'll be quite a different game at Ipswich on Tuesday."
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