Simon Adingra had put the Seagulls ahead with a brilliant solo run but the game changed on Mahmoud Dahoud’s red card in the 69th minute.
Midfielder Dahoud stamped on Ben Osborn’s Achilles, with Adam Webster putting through his own goal moments later to take the Blades off the bottom of the table for the first time since September 23.
De Zerbi, who was also booked for his touchline antics, did not disagree with the red card shown by John Brooks but said: “I am honest and clear…I don’t like 80 per cent of English referees.
“That isn’t a new opinion. I don’t like them. I don’t like their behaviour on the pitch.
“England is the only country where when there is VAR, you are not sure that the decision is right.
“In other countries, you have to be sure 100 percent that the decision taken is right. In England, no, and I am not able to understand.”
De Zerbi is now on his longest run without a league win as Brighton manager, with his side six matches without taking three points.
“We are spending time in an unlucky period,” said the Italian. “I think we have lost four points; two against Fulham and two today.
“After the red card, I didn’t like the team.
“There wasn’t a game until the red card. There was only one team on the pitch. Brighton could have won the game two or three nil, but after the red card the game changed.
“After the red card we can say other things but the situation with one player less, we lost order and our style.”