Speaking after the 4-2 defeat to Ipswich Town, manager Ryan Lowe said the past week has been the toughest since he became North End boss.
PNE lost 4-0 to West Bromwich Albion last weekend – ending the remarkable eight-match unbeaten streak – before heading to Leicester City, who went top of the table with a 3-0 victory over the traveling Whites.
The manager was then looking for a more positive result at Portman Road against an Ipswich Town side also going well in the automatic promotion places, but North End were beaten 4-2 by the Tractor Boys.
Ryan said: “I think we’ve been beaten by two better teams I must say but we’ve not helped ourselves in getting beat in those two games.
“A couple of mistakes on Wednesday night; a couple of mistakes again today. You can’t give good teams opportunities and mistakes because they’ll punish you.
“Overall I’m disappointed with the week. It’s been a tough week – probably the toughest since I’ve been here, but in saying that we’re still third in the league.
“We’ve had a tremendous start but, as I’ve just said to the lads in there, I demand a bit more now and if they can’t handle that they won’t play.
“It’s up to us to regroup and rest while we’ve got a couple of days’ break and go again.”
North End fell behind inside 18 minutes as Conor Chaplin scored on the end of a corner routine, before Mads Frøkjær drew his side level.
Brandon Williams then put the hosts back in front as he ran almost the length of the pitch before firing into the far corner and Nathan Broadhead then sent the Tractor Boys into half-time at 3-1.
One of three half-time substitutes, Ben Whiteman, pulled one back for North End in the early stages of the second period, but a late Kayden Jackson goal ensured it was the hosts who took the points.
Ryan said: “The first half wasn’t acceptable. The goals we conceded were nowhere near what we should be conceding.
“We’ve been solid and resolute in everything we’ve done. The first one we know quite well what he’s going to do, but he gets a bit of a block and a few men don’t do their job which is disappointing.
“The second one – for him to run from where he ran from and the ball goes in, again that’s not us. The third one just shows that we weren’t quite at it, especially in the first half.
“We did manage to pull one back, which gives us a chance, but I’ve said many times three goals is too much to claw back.
“It was a better second-half performance. They warranted to get something out the game, and if we could have kept it at 3-1 until the back end of the game you never know what might have opened up for us.”