Simon Grayson says Huddersfield made Preston look like Real Madrid after Chris Roberston sent them crashing to a third successive defeat.
Preston were without a win in six games, but after goalkeeper Thorsten Stuckmann twice denied prolific Town striker Jordan Rhodes, Robertson fired the winner for Preston in the 54th minute. Chris Holroyd had earlier struck a post for Preston.
"We spent Thursday and Friday working hard on the shape of the team but our lack of leaders on the pitch left us very exposed and we made Preston look like Real Madrid in the second-half because we couldn't get near them," Grayson said.
"We haven't really retained the ball well in the last few weeks and you can work on tactics on the training pitch, but if players don't make the right decisions then you might as well not bother.
"We need to be stronger mentally and keep fighting because we still need points to ensure we make the play-offs before we think too far ahead.
"We switched off at a corner in the second-half and we concede. Suddenly we looked too open, vulnerable, naove and we have to learn quickly because it's costing us results."