England captain Alastair Cook blamed a first-innings batting collapse for his side's defeat by Pakistan in the second Test in Dubai.
The tourists came within 6.3 overs of securing a draw, but Cook pointed to England's loss of seven wickets for 36 runs on Saturday.
"In these conditions you can't afford those two or three hours," said Cook.
"But the character we have shown today - we are disappointed not to get over the line."
England number eight Adil Rashid, playing in only his second Test, batted for four hours on a wearing fifth-day pitch while Mark Wood and Stuart Broad also provided admirable final-day assistance.
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Joe Root (71), Jonny Bairstow (22) and Jos Buttler (7) were all dismissed before lunch, but the tailenders threatened to deny Pakistan what had looked a routine victory.
Spinners Yasir Shah (4-87) and Zulfiqar Babar (3-53) finally broke through in the final hour of the day to ensure the hosts head into the final Test of the series at Sharjah on Sunday 1-0 up.
"These are a fantastic bunch of players," added Cook. "The lower order showed a lot of character.
"You always think that it is never over. Mark Wood and Jimmy Anderson are capable so it wasn't impossible. Some good things have come out of this but we shouldn't have been in that position.
"We will dust ourselves off now. It will be a great last Test."
England have concerns over the form of Jos Buttler, Ian Bell and Moeen Ali, while Cook has a groin injury.
Buttler averages 13 in his past 12 Test innings, Bell averages 26.55 in 2015 while Moeen's six wickets against Pakistan have come at a cost of 53 runs each and he has scored 48 runs in four innings as opener.
"Moeen didn't quite get it right with the ball," Cook added on Sky Sports. "Sometimes when you are expected to turn it and take wickets you try too hard and force it.
"He will be disappointed. We are lucky we have a six-man attack to share the load.
"Jos is going through a tough time. This is what happens in international cricket, that someone is struggling.
"I am proud of my fitness. Yesterday I had a sore groin that hampered me. Maybe these days in the heat have taken their toll. I should be OK for the third Test."
Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq said: "You have to give credit to the opposition.
"They showed character. They played very well on the last day against two really good spinners.
"Overall, the spinners bowled well, under pressure. When we needed the breakthrough they kept their nerve."