Chiefs captain Craig Clarke praised the Sharks for their response to being 24-0 down, but was also delighted to pick up all five points on Saturday.
In a repeat of the 2012 Super Rugby final, the New Zealand and South African outfits put on quite a show at Waikato Stadium, with eight tries scored.
The Chiefs had raced out of the blocks with gusto and Clarke, who was back from a five-week break due to concussion, praised how his men started.
"We put a lot of emphasis on the start of our games and we did some good things," he said.
"But maybe it was all a bit too easy and we slipped a bit. Disappointing from our point of view to let them come back, but credit to them for showing a bit of fight."
Meanwhile, Sharks captain and flanker Jean Deysel hailed his charges for the spirit they showed in almost coming back to snatch victory.
"I'm so proud of the boys for fighting back," he said.
"At one point it was 24-0 down and the boys came back, and it was unfortunate we couldn't come away with the win at the end."