Paul Ince says he’s gutted for Blackpool’s fans after a derby defeat he described as “robbery”.
An 87th-minute Tom Clarke header handed Preston the win in a scrappy Capital One Cup tie at Deepdale.
The Seasiders squandered a host of good chances in the second half before switching off at a set-piece in the dying moments.
Some 4,700 Pool fans made the trip, and manager Ince admitted it was them he felt for.
“I’m still scratching my head over just how we lost that game – it was robbery,” the Pool boss said.
“I’m gutted to be honest. It’s been a great occasion leading up to the game over the past four or five weeks.
“I have to say our fans were absolutely fantastic and it hurts.
“It was a game we should have won. We had more than enough chances to do so.”
Blackpool made three changes to the side which won Saturday’s Championship opener at Doncaster but Ince had few options on the bench, highlighting just how bare his squad is.
However, the manager was more concerned with his side’s lack of concentration when it really mattered.
Ince fumed: “So late in the game you need to switch on.
“We switched off for a minute and before we knew it we had lost the game. “It’s unlike us to concede two goals in two games from set-pieces.
“The problem is that if you keep giving away silly free-kicks instead of standing up, then eventually they will get one.”
After a poor first half, Pool found real improvement after the break and should have broken the deadlock well before Preston’s eventual winner.
Tom Ince, Michael Chopra and Gary MacKenzie all missed chances which on another day would have found the net.
Ince added: “We played well enough and created plenty of chances.
“If we hadn’t given everything and done enough to win the game, then I’d be telling you. But that wasn’t the case.
“We were fighting for the fans – it wasn’t through lack of trying.
“We have to concentrate on Barnsley now (the season’s first visitors to Bloomfield Road on Saturday).
“We have to be men and take it on the chin. We have to pick ourselves up now and bounce back.”