John Coleman admitted he would have taken 85 points at the start of the season – as he would have believed that would be enough for automatic promotion.
The Reds were level with third placed Bristol Rovers on 85 points but missed out on goal difference on going straight up.
They now travel to AFC Wimbledon on Saturday in the play-off semi-finals first leg, before the home leg on Wednesday, and if they win will face either Plymouth or Portsmouth at Wembley.
“A lot of people have said ‘you would have taken play-offs at the start of the season’ and I wouldn’t,” said Coleman.
“When we played Burnley in pre-season I made a statement that we have got a good enough team to be promoted automatically and I stand by that.
“But, for whatever reason, we haven’t scored enough goals or conceded too many.
“The one thing I would have taken is 85 points as nine out of ten times that would have been enough to go straight up.
“And 85 points, for this squad of players, is a remarkable achievement. Whatever happens, this is a something they should be proud of.”
A fourth placed finish still makes Stanley highly fancied by many people but the manager knows in-form Wimbledon, who finished seventh and have won eight of their last 10 matches, will present a serious test.
“We are going into a mini-league now. We finished above all of them so we have a great chance.
“But in the games we have played against them, we have taken just one point out of Portsmouth and Wimbledon and three off Plymouth.
“When we lost at home to Portsmouth, they were excellent and we never turned up, when we drew at Wimbledon, we were mugged with the disallowed goal on the stroke of half-time and at home v Wimbledon they were outstanding.
“Our best performance of the season was at Plymouth where we lost 1-0 – what will be will be but we know we have got a good team and, if we play to the top of our game, we stand a great chance.”