Simon Grayson felt that his Preston North End had ‘gifted’ Sheffield Wednesday victory in their clash at Hillsborough.
The Lilywhites were beaten 3-1 in South Yorkshire, that their eighth Championship game without a win.
Wednesday went in front in first-half stoppage-time through Keiran Lee, doubling their advantage 10 minutes into the second period through a Daniel Pudil shot after a John Welsh mistake.
Alan Browne reduced the deficit 14 minutes from time, before Lewis McGugan lobbed a fine third for the Owls late into time added on.
To complete a miserable afternoon for North End, their new loan signing Paddy McCarthy limped off after only nine minutes with suspected knee ligament damage.
North End boss Grayson said:“Any game in this division is going to be a test because you are playing against some good players.
“For 44 minutes in the first half we were far more comfortable than anyone could have imagined, Sheffield Wednesday didn’t have a shot on target and that was quietest I had known Hillsborough both as being a player and a manager.
“We stifled everything they were doing, were comfortable or we did over turn possession too often, giving the ball away a bit too cheaply.
“Then we shot ourselves in the foot, making a poor judgement for the first goal and then 10 minutes after half-time we found ourselves 2-0 down.
“After that we galvanised ourselves, showed a lot of character and really should have got something out of the game because that 30 minutes or so, we were the dominant team.
“We looked like we had got them, we just couldn’t force things over the line.
“There were great chances with the headers for Jordan Hugill and Eoin Doyle, Adam Reach had a shot cleared off the line and there were things bouncing around the box.
“The difference is you have to take your chances but you also can’t gift the opposition the chances we did.
“All three goals were avoidable because we made poor mistakes.
“Sheffield Wednesday didn’t have to work hard to win the game because of the gifts we gave them.”
Centre-half McCarthy, whose signing on a 93-day loan from Crystal Palace was announced an hour before kick-off, twisted his knee in the early stages and was in a great deal of discomfort as he was helped off the pitch.
His exit forced Calum Woods to move into the centre of defence with Chris Humphrey coming off the bench to play at right-back.
Grayson said:“Paddy is on crutches, unfortunately he has hurt his knee.
”It is a bit early to assess what he has done but it was a huge blow.
“We probably felt a bit sorry for ourselves after that, thinking about another injury.”