Ryan Lowe admitted his Preston North End side need to perform better than they did in the 2-0 defeat against Stockport County.
PNE brought their pre-season schedule to a close with the loss at Edgeley Park – a week prior to the opening match of the Championship season against Bristol City.
The hosts went ahead early on from a corner, before Ryan Rydel doubled the scoring in the 75th minute from a 20-yard free-kick.
Ryan said: “It’s a reality check before next week. If it’s going to happen I’m pleased it’s happened now and the lads are aware of that.
“I’ve just told them in there in no uncertain terms that it’s not acceptable when you come away from a gameplan and don’t win games of football. When you stick to the gameplan you’ve got every chance of winning.
“There’s no points at stakes today. It’s a friendly so maybe some of them are just going through the motions to get through pre-season – I can understand that a little bit, but I don’t want that.
“I’ve got a team to pick for next week, the Championship starts and we’ve got to be better than we were today.”
With all 19 outfield players named in the matchday squad getting minutes against the League Two side, everyone has had their final chance to push for a starting place next weekend, aside from in training.
The manager admitted there are certain places still up for grabs in regards to that Bristol City encounter, which North End will now have a full week to prepare for.
Ryan added: “It’s massively important now because you're never going to be where you want to be straight away when there’s still a week to go.
“It’s nice to win games of football, but you win 4-0 today and you think everything’s rosy, but it’s not. It’s far from it.
“Ultimately next week’s the most important thing and that’s against Bristol City, so it’s going to be a massive week, an important week, because we’ve got to do better than what we’ve done today.
“If we do better than what we’ve done today we’ll have a chance of getting a result, if we don’t then you won’t have any chance.”