Simon Grayson called Preston North End’s decision-making into question in their defeat to Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough.
While the majority of the post-match talk was rightly taken up by the fight between Jermaine Beckford and Eoin Doyle, aspects of PNE’s play in the 2-1 defeat did not escape Grayson’s attention.
A lacklustre opening spell saw North End fall behind to a Fernando Forestieri header in the ninth minute.
Forestieri was sent off in the 65th minute for raising his hand to Ben Pearson.
But the Owls doubled their lead in the 79th minute when Steven Fletcher scored from the spot after Chris Maxwell had fouled Will Buckley.
Doyle’s 82nd-minute goal brought the visitors back into the game before the double dismissal.
“The decision-making from start to finish was poor,” said Grayson.
“We started sloppily and fell behind.
“Then the second goal was bad decision-making from a couple of our players.
“In general, we made some bad decisions, crossing the ball when we should have been stretching the game.
“Too many balls were going into the box just hoping that something might happen.
“We had to be more clever, that is all down to decision-making – that was something we talked about a lot in the dressing room afterwards.
“Sheffield Wednesday are a good team with some really good players.
“But Chris Maxwell didn’t have to much to do in terms of the goal being peppered or anything like that.
“Wednesday had plenty of possession at times but we hit the post and Keiran Westwood had a couple of saves to make.”
Forestieri’s red card was his second against Preston in successive games – the striker was sent off at Deepdale in February for two bookable offences.
Said Grayson: “I was a long way from it, with it being on the far side of the pitch.
“It looked like when he turned, he has pushed Ben Pearson in the face – that is what Ben told me.
“You can’t raise your hand in the modern game, that is why the lad got sent off.
“It was a stupid decision from their player to add to the stupid decisions by our two players – a lot of stupid things happened, to put it politely.”
Wednesday head coach Carlos Carvalhal went down the Arsene Wenger route when asked about the red cards for Forestieri, Doyle and Beckford.
Carvalhal said: “I didn’t see the Fernando Forestieri red card.
“I didn’t see what happened with the two red cards for Preston – I don’t know. It is football.”
He was pleased to get the three points, admitting it had been a hard-going game.
Said Carvalhal: “Preston were organised, it is tough to play against them.
“They have won at Norwich away, drawn at Brighton.
“We had to play with 10 men, our team showed they wanted to win. At the end we had nine-and-a-half players, Will Buckley couldn’t move too much because of his shoulder.”
Grayson questioned the cost of admission to the game for fans, the £33 being on the high side in the division.
Around 800 Preston fans made the trip to Yorkshire.
The PNE boss said: “£33 to watch a Championship game, we are not the biggest club in the land – I think it’s a bit daft.
“That price stopped a lot of supporters coming over, we could have brought 1,500.”
This was Preston’s first away defeat in the league since the 5-0 loss to Brentford in September – and only their second defeat in 11 games in the Championship.
They dropped to 14th in the table ahead of the televised derby clash with Blackburn Rovers at Deepdale this weekend.