Graham Westley bemoaned enforced team changes that disrupted the balance of his Preston side as North End lost at Leyton Orient.
On a windswept day with driving rain throughout, Mathieu Baudry and Kevin Lisbie scored the goals in an entertaining game that saw Akpo Sodje hit a post with a header while a shot from Chris Robertson was cleared off the line as the visitors staged a late rally.
"It was a game that we knew we were going to have to work very, very hard to win in the sense that the injuries we picked up during the week meant that we were without three big players," said Westley.
"In the end, we've had 23 attempts on their goal in comparison to eight on ours so it's obvious that they were clinical in finishing off the chances and defended ruthlessly in their box. So we obviously didn't do as good a job as them in the two boxes, because it does all come down to what you down in the two 18-yard boxes.
"We had a lot of the play and made a lot of chances but the final scoreline suggests that we didn't do enough with them. If you create as many chances as we did in the box, then the chances are that you've played some good stuff to get there and I thought that we did.
"I thought we worked the ball well, showed a good sense of purpose and when we went two-nil down, we showed a good sense of determination to try and get back in the game. We probably didn't have our usual fluency but the players did carve out the chances. Ruthlessness at one end and clinicality at the other was the difference between the sides."