Dean Smith felt Brentford's performance at Aston Villa made a statement to their doubters.
The Bees have yet to win this season and sold Jota, Harlee Dean and Maxime Colin to Birmingham City in the closing stages of the transfer window.
Those two factors saw the west Londoners tipped to struggle, although Steve Bruce disagrees after he saw his Villa side outplayed.
And Smith felt the performance was a big statement of intent from his squad that they are better than their league position suggests.
He said: “I think the performance, not the result, is a statement. They've got a good home record here and we dominated the game.
“They're a strong tight-knit group. I said to the players that we're quite a unique club.
“We've come a long way in a short space of time and there is a uniqueness and the connection between the players, staff and the supporters and I feel you have to have that to compete at this level.”
Aston Villa's weekly wage bill is more than five times what Brentford pay their squad and Smith feels they can out-think opponents.
He added: “We have a great belief in what we do. We know our resources and how to compete smartly against the likes of Aston Villa and Sheffield Wednesday.
“We've got a style of play that we believe works for us and players who want to prove themselves at this level. Games like this whet the appetite for them.”
Smith also felt the criticism in the wake of the transfer window closing was harsh given the strength of their squad.
He explained: “There's been a lot of talk over the last week as we've lost three big players in the transfer window to the other side of the city here and I brought 19 players here today. Flo was here today.
“I showed the players that we've got five or six full internationals and five or six youth internationals.
“We had Andreas Bjelland, Josh McEacrhan and Kamo Mokotjo on the subs bench and a couple of full internationals back home. I felt it was harsh to criticise the squad we have.”
Despite that, the boyhood Villa fan felt his Brentford side should have picked up all three points.
He added: “It was a good point but we feel we should have three points. We dominated the football in the first half without creating chances.
“We controlled the game and in the second half, Villa came into it but we created three big chances and if we'd put one away we'd win the game. Sam Johnstone who we had at Walsall kept us at bay.”