Chelsea defeat consigned to past as Sheffield Wednesday prepare for new era under Steve Bruce

Sheffield Wednesday's Barry Bannan (right) and Chelsea's Cesar Azpilicueta (left) battle for the ball at Stamford Bridge. Picture: Nick Potts/PA
Sheffield Wednesday's Barry Bannan (right) and Chelsea's Cesar Azpilicueta (left) battle for the ball at Stamford Bridge. Picture: Nick Potts/PA
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THE DISAPPOINTMENT of Sunday’s events in front of a live TV audience at Stamford Bridge will not linger at Sheffield Wednesday’s Middlewood training ground in any way whatsoever this week.

This is the emphatic message from midfielder Barry Bannan, with he and his team-mates being wise enough to treat the Owls’ 3-0 FA Cup exit to eight-time winners and holders Chelsea in isolation – and place it into some sort of context.

Class told as the Blues eventually eased past the Owls, just as the London club did to another Championship side in the previous round when they beat Nottingham Forest 2-0.

Following their own exit, Wednesday players will quickly turn the page, insists Bannan, with everyone being conscious of new manager Steve Bruce’s impending arrival .

The former Hull City and Aston Villa boss will officially start work on Friday – just 24 hours before his first assignment in charge at Ipswich Town – following his pre-planned extended family break.

That will focus minds in training and provide an added edge, says Bannan.

It will kick us on again and he will bring experience of how to win games in the Championship and everyone will step up again once the new manager comes in.

Sheffield Wednesday’s Barry Bannan

“I think he (Bruce) will come in and it will give everybody a lift again as you saw with Clem (Stephen Clemence) and Aggers (Steve Agnew) coming in.

“I think it will kick us on again and he will bring experience of how to win games in the Championship and everyone will step up again once the new manager comes in.

“Training will get competitive as everyone is fighting for positions, so we just want to be positive going forward and keep winning games as they come.”

Wednesday may have struggled to make a discernible impression upon Chelsea in the final third on Sunday, but their organisation, relentless work ethic and high-pressing represented a pleasing facet and Bannan believes it represents a glimpse into the future under Bruce.

With players having now worked with Bruce’s trusted lieutenants in Clemence and Agnew since the start of the new year the midfielder feels that he and his colleagues will be under no illusions what to expect when the new Owls chief gets out on the training ground.

Bannan added: “They (Agnew and Clemence) have probably listened to the manager coming in and I do not see why it will change when he comes in and we are enjoying it.

“We like to press high and we had a few half chances at Chelsea from that pressing high up, which is always a bonus.”

What was rather less edifying for Wednesday were the two VAR decisions that went against them in the first half on Sunday, even if both proved to be the right calls in the final analysis.

The move to overturn Andre Marriner’s initial decision to award a penalty after Joey Pelupessy went down under the challenge of Ethan Ampadu was swiftly followed by VAR adjudicating again to confirm the referee’s call in pointing to the spot after Sam Hutchinson’s crude foul on Cesar Azpilicueta.

Yet it had the side-effect of inflicting a psychological ‘double-whammy’ from which the Owls never recovered.

Bannan added: “A big changing point in the game was when we thought we had a penalty and we never got it and then they got up the pitch and scored from a penalty straight away, so that kind of deflated us a bit.

“It was a big blow at a crucial time in the game and if you go one up you have got something to hold onto, but VAR is there for a reason, so it is probably the right decision.”

Wednesday are set to allow injury-hit forward Sam Winnall to leave on loan ahead of Thursday’s transfer window.

The former Barnsley striker was sidelined for a significant spell with a knee problem last year and a further hamstring issue compounded matters.

Winnall has made four substitute appearances since returning to the fray on December 28.