Neil Harris believes the short turnaround between seasons had a major impact on Cardiff City's poor start to the season, which ultimately led to his sacking as manager.
Harris left his post halfway through January after 14 months in charge, with the Bluebirds sitting 15th in the table and on a six-game losing streak in all competitions.
It was a stark contrast to the previous season in which he architected an unlikely run to the play-offs, which culminated in an agonising aggregate loss to Fulham despite a tremendous display at Craven Cottage.
That play-off run, though, meant City's season was elongated more than most, a difficult task given the other complications which come with a season truncated by the pandemic.
And Harris, who was speaking for the first time since he left the Bluebirds, admitted he "really underestimated" the mental and physical impact that had on his players.
"The demand of the football club, they have been in the Premier League a couple of times in the last seven years, so the expectation of the fan base is to be there again," Harris told Sky Sports ahead of the Bluebirds' draw with Huddersfield on Friday night.
"The expectation of the board was to be a top-six side as often as possible throughout the season and in some ways rightly so, it is a big club.
"I wouldn't say it was unrealistic, challenging at times during a Covid-hit season, the short turnaround, I think we probably really underestimated the play-off defeat and the mentality for the players and the group with that really quick turnaround.
"The players literally had five or seven days off between the two seasons, it's tough to come back from that."
It was a hugely disappointing first half of the season for the club, its fan base and Harris himself, who had designs on going one further this season.
But although it wasn't to be, it is clear he still holds fond memories of his time at the Welsh capital club.
"I loved it, obviously," he added. "It was a great experience being there, working at a fantastic football club.
"It is interesting to see Mick's quotes over the last 24 hours, when he signed a new deal, about what a good club it is. It is a really good club, a really good owner, who has really backed the football club over a period of time.
"It's a huge club. It's not until you're really there, in the heart of it, living in it, in the bay area down there, the amount of fans that are in the area and what they think of the football club and their expectations.
"I really enjoyed it. First season in charge, came in and went on a similar run to what they are on at the moment, going from lower-mid table to the play-offs last year.
"Obviously, this year there were different challenges and we didn't get the results we probably needed."
Since Mick McCarthy, Harris' successor, came in, the Bluebirds have gone 11 games unbeaten, winning seven and drawing four.
It has seen them shoot from 15th to on the cusp of the play-offs, however the draw with the Terriers on Friday night could see them lose ground with Barnsley and Bournemouth both having games in hand on them.
However, it must be said that McCarthy has done brilliantly to coax the best out of this Cardiff squad, with key players returning from injury and stars hitting their best form.
There is a hope that the Bluebirds are hitting their straps just at the right time, coming good at the business end of the season when it really counts, and Harris knows more than most just how important momentum can be in the Championship.
"What we are seeing in the Championship this season is the consistency, going through spells of winning games," he said.
"We did it last year after lockdown, coming back, winning six out of the last nine games to propel us into the play-offs and close to the Premier League.
"This year, before Christmas, winning four in a row to get us back into that top 10 and on the fringes of the play-offs.
"But when you lose a few in a row, you can quickly drop down as well.
"Mick comes in, he wins seven out of 10 and all of a sudden you are on the fringes again. It just shows how quick things can turn within football."