Alex Neil admitted the balance of Preston North End's side wasn't right for the first hour of their 2-0 win over Chorley at Victory Park.
The Lilywhites struggled to make an impact on the game in the first half, with Chorley having the better chances.
It was only when PNE boss Neil changed all 10 outfield players after an hour in a planned switch that things swung in their favour.
Alan Browne netted within 30 seconds of coming on, with Graham Burke adding the second late on.
Neil said: "To be fair the balance wasn't quite right in the team to start with.
"The two centre-backs were both right-footed so we didn't have that natural balance when we were switching the ball.
"With having the two centre-forwards, we played a bit lop-sided with only one winger which didn't suit us.
"I flipped it and changed it a little bit which meant I had to drop Louis Moult into the middle of the pitch which wasn't ideal.
"The dynamic of the starting team wasn't as fluent as the second team for personnel reasons more than anything else.
"As an individual you have to go and perform as well as you can and I think we are honest enough as a group to know we didn't play as well as we can.
"But it is a squad game and there will be lads in the team for that first 60 minutes who will be confident they can go on and be in the first team of the season.
"We have three games left to see what the first game of the season will bring."
Neil was much happier with the last half hour of North End's fourth pre-season friendly.
"We scored two good goals and could have had a couple more at the end because we createda few chances," said Neil.
"Once we got the first goal the tails were up of the lads on the pitch. They moved the ball magnificently well at times, it was nice.
"I thought Chorley gave a good account of themselves, they worked hard, were physical and well organised.
"They were everything we expected them to be. We found it difficult at spells against them which was disappointing."