Sheffield Wednesday 1 QPR 0: Carvalhal full of praise for ‘unbelievable’ Owls squad

Sheffield Wednesday head coach Carlos Carvalhal.
Sheffield Wednesday head coach Carlos Carvalhal.
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Sheffield Wednesday maintained their top-six place in the Sky Bet Championship with a 1-0 victory over QPR at Hillsborough.

Gary Hooper netted the game’s only goal with an instinctive striker’s finish five minutes before half-time.

Gary Hooper scored the only goal of the game

Gary Hooper scored the only goal of the game

The result lifted the Owls to fifth in the table, and saw QPR slip to 13th.

Wednesday boss Carlos Carvalhal said: “My players have been unbelievable this week, against very difficult teams.

“I’m very happy about what my players did; it was special today.

“It was good to score the goal but with Gary Hooper and Fernando Forestieri, it is not just a question of goals. The way that they press is very important and they did that well today.”

The first chance fell to the visitors as Cameron Dawson, playing in goal for Wednesday in place of the injured Keiren Westwood, scuffed his clearance straight to QPR top scorer Tjaronn Chery. The midfielder shot from 20 yards out, forcing a smart save from the Owls keeper.

Sheffield Wednesday 1 QPR 0: Match stats

At the other end, Hooper was put clean through with a neat pass from Fernando Forestieri, only to be denied a one-on-one chance by the linesman’s flag.

The hosts began knocking the ball around nicely, settling to the task at hand. Forestieri’s first real sight of goal was palmed away by Alex Smithies from 18 yards out.

QPR thought they had opened the scoring but Conor Washington’s back-post header was ruled out for a clear push on the defender.

Daniel Pudil, fresh from scoring the equaliser against Cardiff in midweek, came close to his second goal in as many games when his snap-shot following a corner struck the woodwork.

The breakthrough came as David Jones’ volley evaded the QPR defenders before falling to Hooper inside the box. The striker was in the right place at the right time to guide the ball past Smithies and give the Owls the lead at the break.

The visitors enjoyed a flurry of corners early in the second half, one of which almost led to an equaliser. The inswinging delivery fell to Nedum Onuoha, whose shot drew an instinctive save from Dawson.

With half an hour to go, the game began to slow down, with the home side happy to draw QPR in before breaking quickly on the counter-attack through Kieran Lee and Adam Reach.

The breakaway style created chances for Hooper and Reach but neither was able to test Smithies in the QPR goal.

Forestieri almost sealed the win for the Owls, put clean through by Lee, but, just as he approached the area and a certain effort on goal, the forward stumbled and the ball was cleared.

The talismanic striker had another chance moments later. After neat build-up play on the edge of the area, Barry Bannan played a reverse pass into Forestieri, who shot just wide of the far post.

QPR’s clearest chance of the game fell to Chery in the dying seconds. Dawson left his goal but could not claim the ball which ran to Chery, whose low shot was cleared off the line by Wednesday captain Tom Lees.

Carvalhal added: “The Championship is unique. The number of games, the crowds and the intensity - it is unique. And this is a situation we need to be able to play in.

“So far all the teams have lost games and this can happen. There is not a big value difference between any of the teams.

“We are resilient and reacting well all of the time. We are in a good way in the league.

“We are more ready than last season; we are so far playing at a higher level than last season.”

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