Mike Ruddock admitted Sale Sharks had shown a more clinical edge as Warriors suffered a 17-3 defeat in Stockport - but he could not fault the commitment of his players as they gave everything in a tense league battle.
Warriors enjoyed plenty of possession at Edgeley Park, especially in the first half, but could not find the finishing touches to break down Sale's rock solid defence.
The home side then struck with a decisive try from England international Mark Cueto in the second half as Worcester saw a Chris Cracknell effort ruled out.
"Credit to Sale, they edged us and probably deserved to take the victory overall," said Ruddock.
"We missed a couple of kicks at goal in the first half and could have gone in level pegging. We needed to be matching them point for point.
"Sale nailed the kicks which was crucial, the two drop goals from Charlie Hodgson were class in those conditions.
"There was nothing in it during the second half, they tackled well and held firm against us. They crossed for a try that was given and ours wasn't, we believe it was a try and Chris Cracknell is confident he got the ball down.
"But that wasn't good enough to get us the result and we have got to say they were the better team.
"We played good rugby and asked questions of the Sale defence - I thought our effort was excellent.
"We probed away, had the possession and went hard at the 10, 12 and 13 channels. I felt we showed good variation and were not one dimensional, but we are not cutting the line and that is frustrating."
Worcester were also dealt a blow early in the second half when skipper Pat Sanderson was forced off through injury in a move that Director of Rugby Ruddock admits was a tough call.
"I had to tell Pat to come off. He is a real Warrior and would never want to come off - he always leads from the front," added Ruddock.
"He had a stinger type injury and I had to make a call on him to take him off. I couldn't risk any further damage to him.
"He puts himself in the firing line and in a game of that magnitude you do not want to take your captain off. But when he missed a tackle and then staggered back I knew I had to get him off.
"It was a blow to lose him but hopefully we can now get him in contention for next week against London Irish."
A late, late penalty try ensured Warriors will take a five-point advantage into the second leg of their Championship play-off semi-final as Dean Ryan's men forced a 27-22 win at the Richmond Athletic Ground.