Thomas Frank says Brentford’s automatic promotion heartbreak was football at its ‘most brutal’ but insists his players can bounce back with a bang in the play-offs.

Frank watched his stuttering Bees lose 2-1 at home to Barnsley as their Championship top two hopes were dashed by Gerhard Struber’s men, who in turn secured a miraculous great escape and avoided relegation.

Callum Styles put the visitors ahead before Josh Dasilva levelled with his tenth goal of the season, only for Clarke Oduor to net a late, late winner to mean Brentford were unable to capitalise on West Brom's 2-2 draw at home to QPR.

Given that result at the Hawthorns, victory for Frank’s men would have been enough to leapfrog the Baggies into the top two places but the Brentford boss remains confident his players can bounce back against Swansea in the play-offs.

“Of course this is football at its most brutal. But we have to pick ourselves up and we need to be ready (for the play-offs),” he said.

“Football is 80 per cent suffering and 10 per cent joy. When you have that opportunity to go direct to the Premier League, that is the emotional part of it – but Barnsley did a good job.

“Right now everything is tough but this is football and this is life. This was not straightforward - we can’t sit down and cry too long because that will never help anything.

“We deserve to be there from the way we’ve played this season. But of course we need to do a job and we need to do it ourselves.

“It is extremely painful - it hurts massively and it hurts all the fans and everyone involved with this club.

“We need to go again and pick ourselves up. We will have a sleep and then be ready to fight again.”

The result came on a wild night of Championship action as the momentum swung to and fro, with West Brom’s inability to beat QPR meaning Brentford would be up if they bettered that result in the Midlands.

But they failed to do so as a late push for a winner saw Odour net late on to seal a remarkable great escape for the Tykes.

Attention now turns to Sunday’s play-off first leg against Steve Cooper’s Swansea, who themselves engineered a stunning final day turnaround as a 4-1 win at Reading hauled back a five-goal swing and saw them leapfrog Nottingham Forest - who lost 4-1 at home to Stoke - in the final play-off place.

And after a shaky performance at Griffin Park, Frank knows his team must improve if they are to topple the south Wales side and give themselves a shot of Wembley nirvana.

“Of course we will do everything we can for Sunday and I have only praise for the boys. They gave everything out there against an opponent who fought for their lives,” he added.

“We struggled against them a bit in the first half – we didn’t find enough space and didn’t get forward enough. In the second half we got much better, but in the end it was not enough.

“Did we create enough chances? Yes we did, we did what we could to chase the game and got the equaliser – and then they scored with their only chance of the second half.

“We will do everything we can for these play-off games and to go to the Prem.

“We know this is hurting but we need to move forward and prepare for Swansea. We now have that one focus.”