Hill pinpointed a lack of intensity as a major factor and promised fans that team would return to the manner in which they performed against international opposition just four day earlier when the league exploded into life.
"We will get back the intensity we need next week, we will get back to where we were against Argentina on Tuesday night. Watching the intensity of that and today against Pirates was like chalk and cheese," he said.
"Players out there were playing for their place against Sale. There were some good performances. I thought the likes of George Porter, Ed Shervington and Craig Gillies played well. The back row of Sam Betty and Matt Kvesic was outstanding. Outside of that, there were not too many top quality performances that you would expect at this stage.
"That surprises me because they had a lot to play for. That group was there to end the season on a high and that it is disappointing for our supporters to lose that game.
"We have to pick ourselves back up and get back to where we were against Argentina.
"The players were disappointed. I didn't need to say too much because they knew that was not the standard that was required. We have got to go up several gears before we contemplate doing well in the Aviva Premiership."
Hill will now study the tape of the game and watch training closely next week before settling on his starting line-up for Sale Sharks.
"One or two have done okay, but whether they have done enough to oust those that weren't out there today I don't know yet," he added.
"I was delighted Chris Pennell came through unscathed. He is bound to be a little bit rusty as that is his first run out, but he has come through so that is a positive.
"It would be tough on the back of that game to come straight back in and Errie Claassens has played very well, but I will think about it. Maybe it is too early at this stage.
"The result with Pirates is not what we wanted, but if you have not got that level of concentration and intensity then you make silly errors and drop off tackles. You could tell that our defence was not as intense as it has been in other games.
"We bottled up a certain level of intensity against the Rebels, to an extent we did that down at Plymouth and we bottled up the intensity for Argentina.
"This game was purely a mental issue and there is nothing technically you can say about it. People have got to get themselves in the right frame of mind and we will make sure that happens next week."