Walsall boss Dean Smith admitted his team selection could have played a part in the first home defeat of the season to Preston.
The hosts had been in a tough League Cup match at Stoke City on Wednesday, losing 3-1, and Smith left out experienced defender Andy Taylor for young Malvind Benning, who had a poor game, and had Romaine Sawyers sitting on the subs bench.
"Looking back, I could say I probably picked the wrong team, but it was a bad day at the office all round," said Smith.
Taylor had been out with an injury and Smith didn't think he was ready for two games in four days, adding: "I made the decisions for the right reasons."
Preston took the lead in the 30th minute when Joel Byrom curled in a perfect free-kick from outside the box and all Walsall had to offer in the first half was a shot off target by Craig Westcarr as they slipped to a third successive defeat in league and cup fixtures.
Lively winger Chris Humphrey added a second for the visitors after cutting inside on 58 minutes and three minutes later the visitors made sure of the points when Lee Holmes cashed in on a howler by Benning to put the result beyond doubt.
Smith now has to pick up his men for Tuesday's Johnstones Paint Trophy clash with Wolves at Molineux and added: "We looked leg weary. We never got started and lacked a bit in terms of our touch and gave poor goals away.
"Wednesday's game (at Stoke) was tough and we put a lot into it, but I felt the players would recover. I didn't see this performance coming. We lacked energy and enthusiasm."