Declan Rudd admitted that Preston had let themselves down in the first-half of their Gentry Day defeat against West Bromwich Albion.
The Lilywhites shipped three goals in 15 minutes in the run-up to half-time at the Hawthorns.
In the second half they were better but conceded a fourth goal before substitute Callum Robinson netted a late consolation.
While goalkeeper Rudd had to pick the ball out of the net four times, he was North End’s man of the match.
He produced half-a-dozen good saves which stopped the Baggies running up an even bigger victory.
Rudd said: “The result was very disappointing.
“I think in the first half we let ourselves down which we haven’t done very often this season.
“In most games we have been a credit to each other and the club but in this one we were miles off where we usually are.
“That is disappointing and upsetting.
“West Bromwich came out in the first half desperate to put right what had gone wrong for them earlier in the week.
“We wanted to do that too but didn’t start in the way we wanted to.”
Dwight Gayle was PNE’s main tormentor, with the on-loan Newcastle man netting a hat-trick – Jay Rodriguez got the other.
Said Rudd: “You look at their strikers and they are both Premier League quality.
“Gayle and Rodriguez could probably get into 10 of the 20 Premier League teams in my opinion.
“When their chances came along, they took them.
“The way Gayle put his first goal away was some finish, that is the type of striker he is.”
While the improvement in the second half did not have a bearing on the outcome, Rudd felt Preston played more like their usual selves.
And it was not the case that a half-time blast from Alex Neil was needed to up the level of performance.
Rudd said: “To be honest, not a lot needed to be said, we knew it hadn’t been good enough.
“The manager tweaked a few things tactical-wise and switched things around.
“It galvanised us a lot more and I thought the second half was better.”