No heart for a fight in this Sheffield Wednesday team and that will lead to a real relegation battle - Five talking points from Owls 0 Burton Albion 3
Terrible defensively, little creativity and nothing up front - Sheffield Wednesday's latest defeat almost summed up their season so far.
Here are five talking points from Sheffield Wednesday 0 Burton Albion 3...
LACKING MENTAL STRENGTH
It has been pointed out earlier in the season and refuted by Carlos Carvalhal but this squad clearly struggles to deal with strife and it is for that reason that fans should be very worried about being pulled into a serious relegation battle. At the minute they're flirting with it but one more defeat - Sheffield United are next up in the league - and they are right in the mire. On the basis of what was produced against Burton, can you imagine this team, give or take a couple, rolling their sleeves up and battling to a win at Bramall Lane? At the minute they look like they'll fall like a badly-stacked house of cards if things go wrong and that what is going to see them sucked into trouble. This could get very serious, very soon.
INJURIES STILL NOT A GOOD ENOUGH EXCUSE
Lee Bullen was at pains to point out that he wouldn't use the huge injury list as a reason for the poor performances and he's right. Would Wednesday have beaten Burton with a few of those currently unavailable, in the team? Hard to say for certain, but maybe. They weren't exactly pulling up trees when the majority of them were out there. However, a side that contains experienced Championship players like Jack Hunt, Glenn Loovens, Daniel Pudil, Adam Reach, David Jones, Ross Wallace, Jacob Butterfield, Jordan Rhodes should be good enough to see off a side like Albion (with respect to them).
NOTHING UP FRONT
Yes, there are a lot of players missing as we keep pointing out, but over the course of this season Wednesday have scored 30 league goals in 26 games. Gary Hooper has scored a third of those. In 23 appearances, Jordan Rhodes has four and he looked as though he could play all day without adding to that tally against Burton. He's obviously not alone in respect that not enough players are scoring but Rhodes' problem is that he doesn't appear to offer a great deal else. He had one real chance against Burton and headed it almost straight at Stephen Bywater in the visitors' goal. When the chips are down you are looking for big name, experienced players to step up. Rhodes is not the only one in that score, but a lot more is expected of him and a lot more should be coming.
BULLEN DESERVES BETTER
He's tried to back them, he's tried to tell them that they're better than they're generally showing and he's showed a genuine passion for the club that has been missing. Unfortunately, he appears to be sailing into the wind. If the players did fancy him to have to the job then they're not showing it. Bullen was hurting after this latest defeat and you could see that in his post-match press conference but he also appeared to have the demeanour of a man who wonders if he has enough to get anything out of the players. In fact, it makes you wonder can anyone really get them going?
Adam Reach, Lucas Joao and Joe Wildsmith. Reach has been a much-maligned figure in the Sheffield Wednesday squad but in the past few weeks he has been one of the few players who have taken responsibility and attempted to make things happen. He has been moved from pillar to post in a positional sense since coming to the club and never shirks and as still quite a young player he deserves a tremendous amount of credit for the way in which he has performed recently. The same goes for Wildsmith; he has come into the team at a difficult time and played superbly, not helped by some dreadful displays in front of him. Two penalty saves and a catalogue of excellent stops have prevented Wednesday from taking a battering in some matches. As for Joao, he was out in the cold under Carvalhal and has come in and produced more hard work than he ever has. There's been a discipline about him, a genuine will to help the team which wasn't seen enough before. Other players would do well to match the trio's attitude.