Daniel Farke was left disappointed by his Leeds team’s “lazy” performance after falling 2-1 to Preston in a spicy contest at Deepdale.
High-fliers Leeds lost the opportunity to grab any points on the road after keeper Illan Meslier was shown a red early after the break for pushing Preston striker Milutin Osmajic in the face.
With the Montenegro international rolling around on the floor, referee Josh Smith went straight to his top pocket for the red card before Alan Browne put the home side ahead two minutes later.
Following the game, Farke questioned the severity of the incident due Osmajic’s reaction.
“It’s disappointing because the second player [Osmajic] really has nothing to do with it,” he said.
“He’s come in and tried to provoke Illan then he goes and rolls around 10 times.
“Maybe the referee should sense what was really happening there. Maybe a yellow card would have been a fairer outcome.
“Having said that I can’t complain because we’ve gone and lost to a Preston team who have worked and fought so hard.
“We were a bit lazy in certain moments, but sometimes this does happen after we had been praised so much during the week.”
With just 10 men, Leeds bounced back with an equaliser in the 83rd minute, Dan James tripped by Ali McCann in the box, leaving Pascal Struijk to slot home from the spot to make it 1-1.
The game was not level for long, before Liam Millar’s heroics pushed Preston ahead once more in a storming run that caught Farke’s team off guard.
“We didn’t create nearly enough chances, and then in the second half early, we have the key moment with the red card,” added Farke.
“We produced a great reaction after that, the lads were brave and we got ourselves an equaliser that I felt we deserved. We then allow Preston to make it 2-1 though.
“Millar has been allowed to run 40 yards at us and then he’s got himself a dream goal.”
Preston manager Ryan Lowe was pleased with his team’s change in attitude and performance after a tough few weeks.
With Browne and Miller linking up on several occasion and both finding the back of the net, Lowe’s side provided some bite, including a brilliant first half, in a tough Boxing Day battle.
“The lads were excellent today, both with and without the ball,” he said.
“They were fantastic, they acquitted themselves brilliantly from start to finish.
“I thought we were the better team in the first half – we had that edge about us. Then in the second half after the red card we knew we’d have to be dogged and resolute.
“Of course, the game changed a bit after the red card, but we kept going and in the end we’ve got a big that win we deserved.
“We’ve all been disappointed over recent weeks, but the results we’ve had have definitely not been for the lack of trying.
“I know we might not be blessed with as much quality in our squad as ones like Leeds, but every one of my players shows a never-say-die attitude.”