Jonathan Woodgate could not hide his frustration after seeing his Bournemouth team drop out of the play-off places following a 1-1 draw away to Preston.
Arnaut Danjuma had put the Cherries into a deserving lead at Deepdale, but they wasted further chances before the break.
And that came back to haunt them as Daniel Johnson earned a point for the home side when he pounced on a Steve Cook error, with Woodgate understandably annoyed at his team’s failure to kill off the game.
He said: “We’re really frustrated. I thought our first-half performance was terrific. I thought we could have been two or three goals up at half-time. Their keeper made some outstanding saves. We need to put those games to bed and then the second half comes back to bite you.
“Steve Cook has been top drawer for me this season but you make a mistake and get punished for it. He’ll bounce back from it. There is not a shadow of doubt about that.
“I’m disappointed we didn’t put the game to bed. There’ll be no-one as disappointed as he is. He has been fantastic in the games that I have been here. He has been a leader and he’ll bounce back.”
Woodgate had named the same starting XI that had won at Bristol City on Wednesday evening but insists it was not fatigue that led to the second-half let-down.
He added: “The lads are fit enough to last the full 90 minutes.
“We’ll take the positives, there are going to be plenty more twists and turns. We have 11 games to go and 33 points to play for.”
Preston were not really at the races in the first half, with Dominic Solanke causing all sorts of problems.
He set up Danjuma’s opener and Bournemouth should have been further clear by half-time, with home goalkeeper Daniel Iversen in fine form to deny both Danjuma and earlier Jefferson Lerma.
But it was a complete role reversal in the second half, Johnson levelling matters and Ben Whiteman coming close to a winner when his effort was tipped onto the bar by Asmir Begovic.
And while Alex Neil felt his team were not at their best, he was pleased at the way they responded to his half-time team talk.
He said: “I think performance-wise, first half we were disappointed. I said to them (at half-time), ‘we need to squeeze the pitch better, play a higher line and be more aggressive, use the ball a bit better and pick that first pass out. There is no question that this game is there for us to get something out of it’.
“And I thought we did all of those things in the second half. Our line was much higher, we were more aggressive and we played better.
“Although in the first half they were better than us, the goal is really cheap. It is a channel ball, we got under the ball, Solanke just gives Jordan (Storey) a bump and then the wide player gets inside and manages to score.
“I still think we can play far better than that. But I think we played a bit better when we got the ball.”
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