Alex Neil believes today's result at Sheffield United was the story of Preston's season so far after he said they were "suckerpunched" by David McGoldrick's late winner.
The Blades move up to fourth in the Sky Bet Championship, while Preston dropped to the foot of the table after a five-goal thriller.
David McGoldrick grabbed a late winner for United in a standout performance which also saw him claim an assist for the game's opener.
The home side were dominant for long periods and found themselves two goals up early in the second half thanks to a fifth of the season for Billy Sharp and a flicked header from a set-piece from Chris Basham.
Without an away league goal in their previous four games, Preston hit back twice in as many minutes after their two substitutions changed the complexion of the game.
Callum Robinson, who was lively for the Lilywhites throughout, tapped home before Daniel Johnson fired a deflected shot into the net for a dramatic equaliser.
Preston were denied an unlikely draw and consigned to a third defeat in a row by McGoldrick, who found space in the box to fire home three minutes from time to give his side all three points.
And Neil said: "That's been the story of the season so far. When we look like the side who's going to win and we've got a foothold back into the game, we get hurt with a sucker-punch.
"But it's about more than that. It's about game management, experience and recognising we can still throw caution to the wind along with the hard work.
"The third goal we conceded was really poor and really frustrating because the second half performance merited something from the game.
"With the first goal they're a bit fortunate as the ball goes through Paul Huntington's legs, but that seems to be the story for us at the moment.
"For 35 minutes of the second half we showed what we're capable of, but we've got to do it on a more consistent basis.
"We scored two goals so there is definitely a threat there, but as a team we've got to stop conceding as many goals as we are."