Romaine Sawyers admits it’s difficult for Brentford to stay focused when they have little left to play for, but urged his team-mates to use this season as motivation for next year.

The Bees captain believes defensive mistakes have been Brentford’s downfall as that was glaringly apparent in the defeat to relegation-threatened Reading.

However, Sawyers also insists they could beat a lot of teams in the Championship and reach the playoff spots if the problem is corrected.

READ: Frank laments Brentford's defending for quickfire Reading goals

He said: “It's hard. You've got to concentrate. We're playing for nothing so it's a bit hard to concentrate as much, but we've got to do it. It's our job at the end of the day.

“Whether you're top of the league, or you're bottom of the league, or you're mid-table, you've got to concentrate [in every game].

“We want to finish up the table as high as we can so we need to do better.

“We have to use this as motivation. We've got the ability as a team, we've got the confidence, but our common pain in the Achilles is our defensive mistakes.

“I think if we cut that out we're going to beat a lot of teams in this league and we'd be where we think we should be.

“It's okay having the potential, we have to go and make it a reality.”

While the Bees are almost certainly not going to reach the playoffs, they’re all but safe from relegation as well, having built a 14-point cushion above the drop.

But there remains a possibility of Brentford clinching a top-half finish as there are 10 points separating seventh and 14th with four games remaining.

READ: Player ratings from Brentford's defeat to Reading

Sawyers added: “It's happened a few times this season [defensive mistakes], we have to cut it out. That's the bit where we've been a bit naïve.

“We need to try and understand the game a little bit more, and sometimes build into games rather than maybe going in straight out from the jump.

“I think, in this league, if you make mistakes you're going to get punished for it and we just need to be a bit mentally tougher.”