Thomas Frank says Brentford could not have done more in their final 12 games of the season to win automatic promotion.
The Bees finished third in the Championship for the second successive season and this year’s points total of 87 would have taken them up in 2019/20.
Frank has revealed following Brentford’s loss at Norwich in early March – their last defeat – a points target was set for the rest of the season that it was hoped would be enough to secure a place in the top two.
He explained: “After Norwich, we thought 24 points from our final 12 games could do automatic, and we did it – so we averaged two points per game which was fantastic.
“But unfortunately Watford did a bit better in that spell and went up, so well done to them.”
The current 12-game unbeaten run follows the 21-match sequence without defeat earlier in the season, and Brentford’s total of seven defeats over their 46 games is the joint lowest in the division, along with champions Norwich.
It means that the Bees go into the play-offs with the best form of any of the four semi-finalists.
They have won their last four games, and five of their last seven – conceding only two goals in that time, the one at Ashton Gate and a penalty by Cardiff.
By contrast, Bournemouth – the Bees’ play-off semi-final opponents – have lost their last three games, one of which was against Brentford, Swansea have lost two and drawn one of their last four, and Barnsley lost and drew their final two regular fixtures.