Simon Grayson read the riot act to his Preston boys during Norwich City defeat

Simon Grayson attempts to get his Preston side going as Norwich's Frankie McAvoy and Alan Irvine loo

Simon Grayson attempts to get his Preston side going as Norwich's Frankie McAvoy and Alan Irvine look on. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

It was a miserable day all round for Preston manager Simon Grayson who lost two players to serious injuries as well as seeing his side lose at home for only the third time in 19 Championship games.

Greg Cunningham (fractured leg) and Tom Clarke (ruptured Achilles) won't play again this season as the Lillywhites look to end what has been a promising campaign on a high note.

Preston had their chances against City, with Paul Huntington and Tom Barkhuizen both guilty of putting gilt-edged chances off target, while the latter was also denied superbly by John Ruddy in the second half, but Grayson had no complaints about the final result afterwards.

'We left ourselves too much to do after the first half,' he said. 'We started well for the first few minutes but after that we were a shadow of our usual selves.

'We didn't have any energy about us; we didn't stop the opposition from playing and they have some very talented players.

'Half-time is the angriest I've been for a long time. I said to the players we want to finish the season strongly, and it's a real disappointment because I don't want to finish the season with that kind of performance.

'There are three games to go and we need to do something about it.

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'Too many players in the team today didn't win their individual battles. You can't switch the game on like a tap when it suits you. The Championship is ruthless and you get heavily punished if you don't play to your maximum.'

Defender Andy Boyle admitted the hosts had been off the pace against a City side who had only won once away since October 1.

'The first half we didn't really get going and we weren't really at it,' he said. 'We came back into it second half but it probably wasn't enough.

'Since I've been here, that type of performance hasn't happened. It's hard to put your finger on what it was.

'At half-time, we got a bit of a rollicking and rightly so but we came out and we were a lot better and we were full value to win the half.

'To try and get a point out of the game we had to throw caution to the wind and unfortunately we got a sucker punch on the break. We don't want this season to peter out, we want to finish higher than last season.'