Sheffield Wednesday: Five talking points after Owls' lacklustre defeat to QPR

Sheffield Wednesday slumped to a third Championship defeat in their last four matches, losing 2-1 at home to Queens Park Rangers.

Saturday, 31st August 2019, 1:36 pm
Updated Saturday, 31st August 2019, 7:31 pm

Jordan Hugill's second half double ensured QPR left Hillsborough with maximum points.

The Star's Owls writer Dom Howson picks out five talking points:

Defensive reshuffle

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Owls caretaker boss Lee Bullen

Wednesday suffered a big blow in the warm-up when skipper Tom Lees pulled out of the starting XI with a hamstring injury. It meant Dominic Iorfa was drafted into centre-back and David Bates took his place on the bench.

Iorfa should have done better for the R's equaliser. He switched off to Nakhi Wells' delightful through ball, allowing Jordan Hugill to race clear and round goalkeeper Keiren Westwood before tapping into an unguarded net.

The Owls particularly missed Lees' experience and leadership qualities in the second half as the visitors took control of the contest. They will be praying Lees makes a speedy recovery over the international break.

Fernando Forestieri

Bullen said in his pre-match press conference that Forestieri remains an integral member of Wednesday's squad so it was no real surprise that Bullen handed him his first start of the campaign.

There were moments in the opening 45 minutes where Forestieri looked lively. He kept the R's defence on their toes and won a penalty after being hauled down by captain Grant Hall.

But Forestieri's influence faded after the break as QPR seized the initiative.

Steven Fletcher

The striker, who was rested in the midweek cup victory over Rotherham United, maintained his fine form, coolly converting a 23rd minute spot-kick to claim his third goal in six Championship starts.

If the Owls are to be successful this season, it is imperative the Championship club keep him fit.

Woeful second half

"I have been at this football club long enough to know the demands of the support and the owner; our second half performance was not acceptable for a club of this size," conceded Bullen.

The Scot had a point. It was one-paced, lethargic and their decision-making left a lot to be desired.

He added: "The two goals we conceded you wouldn't see in a primary school playground. There was a lack of communication."

It was a big step backwards.

Where do Wednesday go from here?

The Owls go into the international break, having suffered three defeats in their last four Championship matches.

But the most concerning thing is the manner of their performances. They have not played well since beating Barnsley.

This QPR defeat feels a damaging one in Bullen's attempts to land the permanent manager's role on a full-time basis. There are concerns over the direction Wednesday are heading in and the situation needs sorting out sooner rather than later.