Alex Neil admitted Preston could have "ruined a good performance" by failing to kill off relegation-haunted Bolton at the University of Bolton Stadium.
Goals from Alan Browne and Tom Barkhuizen put North End 2-0 up before Clayton Donaldson's first league goal for Wanderers in stoppage time made it an unnecessarily nervy ending.
"If we are being fair to ourselves it probably should have been four," said Neil. "And that's being reasonable.
"We created six or seven golden opportunities. But I was here when Bolton played Reading.
"Reading were winning 1-0 and were quite comfortable in the game but Bolton rallied to get a goal at the end.
"That's why I had some frustrations because I knew when you get those opportunities you need to take them. If you do you can kill the game and kill the momentum.
"Then they have nothing to hang onto. But as it drags on and drags on, one break of the ball, one slip can cost you the game.
"What you do is ruin a really good performance. Having said that anybody though who wanted to watch good football must have been entertained with that. I thought our lads were great.
"I always believe you should go and watch your team entertain you and Preston fans should have been thoroughly entertained with really good performances all across the pitch."
Despite being four points off safety, Wanderers boss Phil Parkinson feels his side can still beat the drop for a second successive season.
However, Parkinson conceded his team's display could have been better.
"I believe we can still do it; I wouldn't be stood here if I didn't think we could," he insisted.
"But we have got to find a way for teams to come away saying 'that Bolton side had something about it.' I couldn't say what we were today.
"Were we a direct team that went forward all the time? Or were we a footballing team? No – we were in between.
"We have got to find a way of playing and stick to it. We didn't get any control like we have in recent games.
"Before their second goal we were having a good period in the game but a basic mistake cost us again.
"We can't afford to give cheap goals away. We are up against decent sides and we have got to give ourselves a chance.
"We got the goal towards the end and their keeper made a good save but there were a lot of things we could have done better.
"We looked like a disjointed side and we have played a lot better."