Scott Marshall, Reading’s caretaker boss, admits his side struggled to cope with Sheffield Unired’s tactical change as the Blades ran out 2-0 winners at the Madejski Stadium tonight.
After an unimpressive half for both sides, although United had two goals chalked off for offside, Blades chief Chris Wilder brought on Mark Duffy for John Lundstram at half time and changed United’s shape as a consequence.
United were indebted to another substitute in top scorer Sharp, who scored his 12th goal of the season in the 83rd minute.
Three minutes later, Reading striker Sam Baldock - the older brother of United’s George - headed into his own net from a John Fleck corner.
The Royals sacked manager Paul Clement on Thursday, with Marshall, the club's under-23 boss, installed as first-team caretaker boss.
And Marshall said: "I'm disappointed with the two late goals. It's a sore one to take.
"We struggled to cope with the little change that United made at half-time. They put a lot more pressure on us, they were a lot more in our face.
"It was also disappointing to concede in the manner that we did. We had opportunities to pass and play and link up a little bit but we'd liked to have worked their goalkeeper a little bit more.
"We did have chances but we didn't capitalise on them.
"Straight after the game, it was good to be around our group of players, look into their eyes and maybe set a challenge to them. They looked quite positive and up for that. So there are some encouraging signs.
"I'm looking forward to working with them over the next few days."
On the managerial vacancy at Reading, Marshall said: "It's definitely been a whirlwind 48 hours at the club.
"It's disappointing that things haven't worked out for Paul [Clement] and the change has been made.
"Emotionally it's quite a challenge, especially from my point of view and the group's point of view as well. We've just got to manage that altogether and battle on through for however long it is.
"The main thing is that we have to generate a bit of spirit and a bit of togetherness - a will to see things through."