Shaun Derry said it hurt to see Notts County slip into the relegation zone after their 2-0 loss at Preston, but vowed to keep them up.
New Preston signing Craig Davies inspired the hosts to victory. The on-loan Bolton striker opened his account in the 65th minute then won a penalty that Joe Garner converted six minutes later.
But Derry, whose side have lost their last three league games, insisted County got exactly what they deserved from their trip to Deepdale.
"It was a game of two halves, but 2-0 was a fair result," Derry said. "We didn't trouble their goal anywhere near enough. That was disappointing.
"If Kwesi (Appiah's) late effort goes in then it may have been different. But I'm grasping here.
"There was not a lot of attacking nous in the way I want us to put teams under pressure.
"I was delighted with certain people out there and not so delighted with others. We are back in the bottom four and it only takes one day and you can be back in the sticky stuff.
"It hurts me and it hurts the guys. But we have still got plenty of games left to get ourselves out of the position we are in.
"I'm more than confident that we can get out of that bottom four again, starting with Coventry next week."
Davies opened the scoring when he did brilliantly to find space on the edge of the box to fire into the top corner.
The hosts' lead was then doubled when Jack Grealish hauled the forward down inside the box - Garner slotting firmly past Kevin Pilkington to keep Preston in the play-off pack.