Sporting director Tony Asghar insists "nobody is more unhappy" than he is after Dundee United failed to enhance their squad in January.
The Tannadice side sit bottom of the Premiership and only managed to bring in defender Loick Ayina, 19, on loan.
Several players have gone out on loan, including forward Tony Watt.
"We were hoping to recruit, looked at a number of possibilities," Asghar told DUTV. "Unfortunately, we hit the bar with a few and that's the way it goes."
Watt, 29, was allowed to join league rivals St Mirren for the rest of the season, leaving United short of options up front.
"I've heard people say that was a gamble," said Asghar. "The reality is that if a player is not getting game time, then we have to make a decision for the good of the group.
"Tony wanted to go and play football and he wasn't getting that here.
"At the same time, we were still trying to bring players in. But if you look around every club in Scotland, or the UK, trying to get a striker in during the window, it was very difficult. For me, it's very disappointing but we never stop.
"Nobody's more unhappy at how we ended up coming out of the window than myself. But a transfer window doesn't just act on the last day. We have a recruitment strategy looking even for next summer.
"We're at a different level now where we are trying to sign targets who are potentially on a financial scale we can't reach and there are other clubs competing with us for these players."
Asghar stressed his belief that the United squad is "strong" and batted away the suggestion that appointing coach Liam Fox after the August sacking of Jack Ross was an "easy option".
"I think it's a cheap thing to say," he replied, adding there was no call for "radical change".
"It was a smarter move than having a new manager coming in and saying in January 'we need to empty 10 players to get 10 in'," he said. "That's not workable. One of our big things is succession planning. We're trying to take a more sustainable viewpoint."
Of recent protests aimed directly at him, Asghar explained: "I can understand the frustration.
"I wouldn't disagree that there has to be some sort of venting, although I would say sometimes it doesn't help the players and it can give the opposition an advantage.
"When I see my name on a banner I think 'if I'm the problem that's keeping it away from anyone else at the club, I'll take that on the chin'.
"We're all after the same thing. We want success for Dundee United and I hurt just as much as anybody else."