Billy Davies played down Nottingham Forest's chances of automatic promotion despite moving up to second place in the Championship.
The Forest boss praised his side's hard fought 1-0 victory against Watford at the City Ground on Saturday.
Marcus Tudgay bagged the all important goal after just 51 seconds to secure a sixth successive win.
However, Davies was honest in his evaluation of Forest's chances this season.
He said: "I think we are great candidates for the play-offs but if I am totally honest I think we are a little bit short for going up automatically. That is my honest evaluation.
"I have a great bunch of players here who work extremely hard and I am very
proud of what they are doing.
"At the end of the day I look at what our rivals like Queens Park Rangers,
Cardiff and Leicester are doing in terms of preparing themselves for the
remainder of the season and that's why I take the view that I am.
"Sometimes I get frustrated because I am desperate to get this team and this
club into the Premier League.
"But we have 18 games left to play, 18 big games, and we will attempt to
accumulate as many points as we can. But we know that every point will be
difficult to get.
"It was a superb three points against a very spirited Watford side today. We
were excellent in the first half, played with a good tempo and should have had
scored more goals."
Meanwhile, Watford boss Malky Mackay felt his side were denied two late penalty appeals which went against Will Buckley in the second half.
Mackay said: "I thought at the time they were penalties but I was a long way
away and couldn't be sure. But I have seen both incidents on DVD after the game and they are unquestionably penalties.
"I know Forest had a penalty appeal of their own but every incident should be
taken on its own merit and I was convinced we should have had two today."
Mackay, however, was pleased with his side's overall display, adding: "I have got to be very proud of my players today to come to a place like Nottingham Forest, go a goal down inside the first minute and then put on a performance like that on their patch.
"They have shown great resilience and we've had two or three chances in the
second half to get something out of the game.
"Forest are a top side at this level and what you look at in this division is
consistency and players with the ability to change games. They have that.
"When you look at their bench and the experience and ability they have it just
shows you what strength they possess.
"But we have a got great honesty among the players and a group who train hard.
"All I have asked of them this season is to be competitive and they have once
again shown that against a very good side."