'We need to improve': Hull FC boss Tony Smith wants more than effort and attitude
It was a marked improvement on the 60-14 drubbing in the reverse fixture in March but Smith was disappointed to leave the AJ Bell Stadium empty-handed.
“We are not satisfied," said the Hull boss.
"We need to improve but I am certainly not going to hammer our players for the effort they put into the game.
“I will ask them to show up with that sort of attitude next week. We are all on the same page and played some good rugby at times.”
Reigning Super League Man of Steel Brodie Croft laid on two tries with touches of quality as the sixth-placed Red Devils moved six points clear of Hull in the table.
Only two points separated the teams on the field until Ken Sio scored eight minutes from time.
“I thought it was a good competitive game which could have gone either way," said Smith.
"Salford executed better than us and came up with some big plays which probably made a difference.
“Salford deserved to win – just. I thought it was an entertaining game and both teams gave it a good crack.
"Salford were slightly better. I thought we showed good spirit and the effort wasn’t in question.
“I thought Salford paid us a compliment by coming up with kick plays to score against us.
"We defended pretty well against a terrific attacking team – they can rip you apart if you’re not on it. Salford have some of the better attacking players in the competition.”
After seeing the games at Hull KR and Leeds Rhinos go to golden point earlier in the round, Smith believes Super League is in good health.
"I keep saying it: I don't think there are huge differences between the teams at the top, bottom and in the middle," he added.
"It's sometimes down to fine margins and execution. The teams at the top of the table have probably pulled off a few more fine-margin executions than some of the other teams – but there isn't a huge gulf in the competition.
"If you have a look at some of the games over the weekend, it shows how close it is – and there's some good entertainment going on as well. That's really important."