Cowley said he could criticise refereeing decisions and that he had an admission from Geoff Eltringham that he may have made different calls an another day.
The Huddersfield manager got to know Eltringham and was booked during the game, for holding onto the ball when Preston wanted to take a throw in whilst his team were 1-0 down.
Ultimately though, the Huddersfield boss doesn’t believe his side didn’t have the mettle to match North End.
“We got outfought,” he said.
“We could bemoan decisions that went against us, the first goal is never ever a foul.
“He wins the ball clearly, the referee said his foot was high but the ball was high so his foot is going to be high.
“I’ve just spoken to the referee and the referee said if he had his time again he would have made a few decisions differently, he alluded to the tackle on Tommy Elphick which should have been a sending off.
“It was pretty reckless.
I’m sure their player didn’t mean it but if you endanger the safety of an opposition you know what the decision has to be in modern football.
“There were four of them and they knew, the fourth official knew but he was far away.
“I get it, I’m not saying it’s an easy job being an official.
“But in the first 15 minutes when two key decisions go against you, one leading to a goal and one leading to a key player coming off injured, when we’ve already lost Jonathan Hogg who was suspended, it makes life difficult.
“You’re either a victim or a fighter and too many of ours were victims.
“We have to look much closer to home first and foremost.
“We got outfought today.”
Alex Neil post-match on the importance of his team’s start and Cowley was full of praise for his counterpart.
Cowley was pained by the way the game panned out, with his side unable to cope with an irrepressible Preston.
He said: “He’s done a brilliant job here, Alex Neil.
“The team he has and what he gets out of those players is exceptional and he deserves all the praise that, no doubt, he’s getting.
“It was a difficult start.
“First and foremost, credit Preston and Alex Neil’s team.
“They played with a huge energy and enthusiasm.
“They played quickly into Jayden Stockley and got around him and off of him.
“He was a real handful all day.
“They played with a real intensity when they pressed the ball and were very aggressive in the way they approached the game.
“I’ve been a football manager for 13 years and you can count on one hand the amount of times my team have been outfought, and when it happens it hurts.
“We have to go away from that and learn from it.
“You have two options in this moment, you either look out the window or you look in the mirror.
“Those that look out the window will tend to find it happens to them again.
“I know the ones that are big enough and strong enough to look in the mirror, take responsibility and be accountable, they will be back stronger to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”