Graham Westley was left to rue his team’s performance as they fell to a disappointing 3-1 defeat against Crewe Alexandra.
The Preston boss took responsibility for the defeat, admitting he’d got the side wrong and that something needs to be done for the Lilywhites to rediscover their form.
“We are not showing the right ingredients as a unit and when you have built a team that is playing in a certain way and then you try and replace it one way and another and you don’t get it quite right,” Westley said.
“In fact today you badly get it wrong then you have to go back to your recipe book and say well I am putting somebody out there and they are not doing what the team were doing before. Perhaps now I have to shuffle the pack to get players in that has the right ingredients to drive us on from the platform that we built for ourselves.
“We have lost our form, we have lost two games and we need to shuffle the pack, get the right players in and get the right team that can win again.”
The Lilywhites went into the game without forward Stuart Beavon as well as injured full-backs Scott Laird and Keith Keane, with the Preston manager acknowledging how much his side missed the absent trio but said they cannot use injuries as an excuse.
“Since the two full backs Scott Laird and Keith Keane were injured, we haven’t showed the same ingredients as a team to win,” said Westley.
“We got ourselves to a decent level of form and performance and results were fairly consistent, we were unbeaten in seven games and the wheels have come off the wagon.
“What it takes to win football matches hasn’t been shown in the team, they were not shown today or at Leyton Orient. We can count our misfortune at Orient with the chances that we created but didn’t score.
“Since we lost those two full backs and we haven’t replaced them in a way that we are getting the team functioning and performing. There is a lot of problem solving to do; we need to recover the ground that we have lost in this rocky period,” Westley continued.
“We worked hard on the way we wanted to play today and we had to make a change. There is no direct change for Stuart Beavon; he is a certain type of centre forward.
“We thought about changing a couple of things because we lost Beavon but it was so late in the day it was difficult to do so.
“We went one for one with Anthony Elding, Anthony worked hard to be fair in the first half but we didn’t get a lot of support to him to do too much work against their back three.
“I wouldn’t use losing Stuart Beavon as an excuse; we have lost players before, we have to be very objective, very analytical and we have to look at the situation and work out what the cause of the problem is.”
Despite the emphatic score-line, Westley revealed that he thought it was an even contest, and while Crewe took their chances, his side struggled to perform to the best of their ability.
“I thought it was an even contest; we could have gone ahead through Lee Holmes and John Mousinho,” Westley said. “We conceded a poor first goal and we can’t hide from that and if you are going to leave midfield runners to escape and your back four is not going to close in and around him then you run the risk of conceding.
“Crewe didn’t play any better than we already knew, they went to Bramall Lane and scored three goals in a 3-3 draw and that takes some doing. We had a healthy regard for them before they came and were fully aware that they have got some good quality players.
“Luke Murphy in the middle of the park was outstanding and they have got some very good players. We didn’t underestimate Crewe, we knew they would bring a decent game here and we would have to work hard to win.
Westley added: “We spoke at half time about a number of aspects of our performance and in all honesty the things that we spoke about correcting still needed correcting because they were the cause of the goals we conceded.
“It was a case of emphasising the points to try and get us back on the right road; we lost our way after the second goal went in just after half time. We conceded two and we didn’t really get going and we started to get ourselves going in the last 30 minutes.
"We started to take the game to them and we could have easily got ourselves back in the game sooner than we did but it was too little too late.”