How Sheffield Wednesday threw away a promising start to the 2019/20 season
Few Wednesdayites would disagree with caretaker manager Lee Bullen's assessment that the Owls have made a "bang average" start to the season.
Victory over Queens Park Rangers would have moved the club back into the play-off positions and boosted Bullen's chances of landing the permanent manager’s job.
Three points would have also given Wednesday their best start to a campaign since owner Dejphon Chansiri bought the club in 2015. In recent years, the Owls have been notoriously slow-starters. Had they chalked up a fourth win from their opening six Championship outings, it would have given them a strong platform to build on.
But Wednesday let slip a half-time lead on Saturday, producing a limp second half showing to head into the two-week international break on the back of a home defeat.
Given the calibre of opposition the Owls faced in August, nine points is a disappointing return. Reading, Barnsley, Millwall, Luton Town, Preston North End and QPR are not amongst the division's leading lights. Their run of fixtures seemed, on paper, relatively favourable.
"We should have more points on the board considering what we have in the changing room," Bullen told The Star. "But when you look at the overall performance against QPR, we didn't deserve anything from game.
"If we had got a bit of luck against MIllwall, we might have got something from the game. We probably didn't deserve anything from the Preston game and we didn't against QPR.
"It is a bang average start. We could have walking in here with 12 points out of six, which is two points a game and automatic promotion form.
"But we are in 11th place and, given the QPR performance, I think that is where we deserve to be."
As the old adage goes, though, there are no easy matches in the Championship and Wednesday have no divine right to beat anyone. All results have to be earned at this level.
And the fact is the team's performance levels has markedly dipped since their South Yorkshire derby triumph over Barnsley.
They lacked the guile and imagination to break down a stubborn, spirited Millwall outfit, despite playing over half the match against 10 men, two defensive mistakes cost them at Preston and QPR punished them for a lethargic second half display.
Things were looking pretty rosy after successive wins against Reading and Barnsley, but the Owls have gone backwards, turning a potentially good start into a mediocre one.
Sheffield Wednesday's record in the opening six matches in the Dejphon Chansiri era:
15/16 season: 5 points
16/17 season: 8 points
17/18 season: 9 points
18/19 season: 10 points
19/20 season: 9 points