Frank says Watford clearly in the box-seat now after Bees come up short once more
Thomas Frank has admitted that the second promotion slot is now Watford's to lose, after Brentford were frustratingly held to a draw for the fourth game in a row.
Tuesday night's 0-0 stalemate with Birmingham City at the Brentford Community Stadium leaves them nine points adrift of the Hornets, albeit with a game in hand and a home match against their rivals to come.
The Bees manager also accepts his side have slipped from the high standards of their amazing unbeaten run in mid-season and says it is down to a mixture of bad luck, fine margins and a slight drop in quality.
"No mind games, but it is of course Watford's to lose because they are in a terrific position and have done well, all credit to them," said the Bees boss.
"All we can do is focus on ourselves and we need to turn that margin, quality, blip into a win on Saturday against Preston.
"We've had a fantastic season so far. There are no nerves, but I'd like us to create more clear-cut chances and at the moment, I think we lack a little bit of quality or confidence."
Frank continued: "I think we are in a place where it's difficult for us to edge it for whatever reason.
"I think we did enough and today if there should have been a winner, it should have been us, and the other three games I think we should have won with the performance we put it.
"Is that quality or margins not going your way? Is it coincidences, is it luck? Is it a little blip or little bit not the well-run well-oiled machine that just destroyed everything in the 21 unbeaten games? I think it's a little bit of everything.
"But I see the foundation of every good side, hard work, a good attitude and togetherness. That's what I saw over the last four games so I can't blame the boys."
The Bees looked good in the first half and missed a couple of gilt-edged chances for Mathias Jensen and Sergi Canos. Frank believes a goal during the early purple-patch would have made all the difference.
"I think the first half was a really good half," he said. "I think we dominated it, especially the first 20-25 minutes, creating some really, really good situations.
"There was a big chance from Sergi and other bits that could have given us the leading goal but we completely understand the strategy of Birmingham who are in a relegation fight, coming here to get one point and take their chances with every long throw, delaying the game and countering.
"We needed that opening goal because it's not so easy to open teams. Tonight Norwich destroyed Huddersfield 7-0 because they got that early goal after eight minutes.
"If we had scored early, I think it would have been a completely different game.
"That said, if you look at our last four games, in two of them we actually got the goal we needed and couldn't hold onto the lead."
The Bees badly missed two of their most creative outlets in Rico Henry and Josh Dasilva who are both facing a race against time to be fit before the end of the season - although Dasilva is closer to recovery.
"Rico's hamstring won't be ok in next couple of weeks," Frank said. "It could be race against time to get him fit before the end of the season. Josh could be earlier but it's also a race against time."