Brentford looked off the pace and it looked as if the rigours of the last few weeks had caught up with them.
Wolves was the 10th game for the Bees since January 31, which has also included 1,300 plus miles travelling, and it appeared as if that was in the legs of the Brentford squad.
Brentford also have few options in reserve and injuries to Josh McEachran and Andreas Bjelland have not helped matters, not forgetting the long-term injuries to Alan Judge and Lewis Macleod.
The Bees, though, have also been a Jekyll and Hyde side this season; brilliant in one game and below par the next.
It’s not fair to fully blame tiredness as a reason for the recent displays against Wolves and Huddersfield but how big a role did it actually play? We’ll take a closer look.
Crunching the numbers
Ryan Woods is the only outfielder to have played every minute in that time and it looked as if the intense run of games had got to his legs. The midfielder is integral to the way Brentford play and has become a player opposition sides look to stop and both Huddersfield and Wolves had success.
Jota is in second place having played 855 minutes out of 900 and he looked a shadow of the player we saw in his hot streak. When you consider he barely played the first half of the season, this run would have taken a lot out of him.
Nico Yennaris, despite battling an ongoing injury, has only missed 66 minutes of football in that time and is third among outfielders and there may be a case of securing the club’s Championship status then giving him the rest of the season off to recover.
Maxime Colin, who missed the game with Brighton, comes in behind him with 810 minutes played and his form has remained consistent.
Harlee Dean (720) is the curious case which perhaps sheds light another way on the issue. The captain was superb defensively against Wolves. However, he is only three games back from a two match ban that allowed him a two week break.
He said after returning against Forest: “I've been working really hard. It gives you time to do other stuff you can't do whilst you're playing.
“It's frustrating to miss the games but I've done a lot of hard work with Tom Perryman and Chris Haslam and feel I've added to the physical side.
“It's sometimes nice to step out, have a look and reassess and then get back on the pitch and do it.”
Lasse Vibe missed two games with an injury but has been back for the run of Saturday-Tuesday fixtures the club have had and has found himself starved for service.
John Egan (540) had a strong game but he had been out of the side for four games after his head injury against Chelsea while Rico Henry (536) has played all bar four minutes since making his Brentford debut.
Sergi Canos (473) has had the second fewest minutes but, much like Jota, he has found game time limited in the first half of the season. Incidentally, substitutions involving Canos and Florian Jozefzoon have occurred in seven of the last 10 games.
Brentford’s best midfielder last night, Konstantin Kerschbaumer has played the least minutes with 248 and only substitute Josh Clarke (140) had played fewer of those who featured against Wolves.
Goalkeeper Dan Bentley, of course, has played every minute but keepers require different levels of fitness and stamina to outfield players.
What other factors are there?
Huddersfield and Wolves are much more physical sides than Brentford, who are more technical.
This lack of physicality has been exposed as, when teams get tight to the Bees they end up struggling. If you give their ball playing midfielders time and space on the ball then they will hurt you.
Huddersfield’s game plan worked a treat on the Bees and Wolves’ strategy, although it took time to bear fruit, also succeeded.
Smith knows that this is a problem for the Bees to deal with but it doesn’t seem as if he has the tools at his disposal to correct it this season.
What can be done to correct these problems?
The short term answer is ‘not much’. Josh McEachran and Andreas Bjelland are returning to fitness and they will give Smith more options and allow for some rotation in the side.
The former Chelsea man had shown what he was capable of since the turn of the year and his injury has been a blow to Dean Smith.
Alan McCormack, despite being fit, appears out of favour and set to leave the club at the end of the season.
Longer term, the Bees must sign a tough tackling midfielder in the summer who is able to counteract the physical teams. They had that in Jonathan Douglas and McCormack but there is nobody else in the squad who can provide that strength and physicality that those two did.
What conclusions can we take?
You won’t hear the squad talking about tiredness and looking to use it as an excuse for a poor performance.
However, it certainly is a factor but other areas must also be considered. Brentford have one of the smallest, and youngest squads in the Championship.
Even with everyone fit, Smith would only have five first team players outside a matchday squad. Currently McCormack and the injured Judge, McEachran, Bjelland and Macleod are the ones outside the matchday 18.
Of course, the B team can fill in but they are also young and inexperienced, especially against tough, physical sides like Huddersfield and Wolves.
Other clubs have a much greater strength in depth as seen in the squad numbers. Canos wears 47 because seven is his favourite number thanks to David Villa. Wolves had two players with squad numbers in the 60s.
Let’s also not forget that Wolves’ winning goalscorer, Helder Costa, cost them £13million to sign. That’s more than the entire Brentford squad cost to put together.
A fourth year in the Championship is extremely likely for the Bees and, if you are a financial determinist, that is a remarkable achievement for all concerned at the club.
There are areas Brentford need to improve on but that will come with time.