Reda Johnson has revealed how Championship strugglers Sheffield Wednesday held a dressing-room inquest after their shocking home defeat to Bournemouth.
Goals from Matt Ritchie and Lewis Grabban helped earn the Cherries a surprise win at Hillsborough and shatter the feel-good factor under caretaker-manager Stuart Gray after two wins in three previous games since replacing the axed Dave Jones.
Not even Jacques Maghoma’s late strike – his first goal since a summer move from Burton Albion – could lift the dark clouds over Hillsborough.
Owls captain Johnson revealed Gray and the players held talks in the dressing room after the game to assess how they could go from a superb 1-0 win at Watford to Saturday’s shambles.
“We all spoke together with Stuart. The players had the chance to talk and say what they were thinking,” said Johnson. “What happens in the dressing room, stays in the dressing room.
“Everything went wrong (in the game). We didn’t start very well, we had a very bad first half. We were 2-0 down and it is hard to come back in the second half against a team who defended very well.
“We are disappointed. One week we were all happy and would never think we would then lose 2-1 at home against Bournemouth. It was a big surprise to be losing 2-0 at half-time.
“We have no time to be disappointed, we have many games coming. We have to keep going.We have no time to cry, we have to stay together.
“I can tell you, all the players know exactly where we are, our position, and we are all frustrated.”
While the Owls are missing nearly an entire first team due to injuries, Johnson believes team ethic rather than missing individuals is the current problem.
“We didn’t play like a team,” Johnson reflected on Saturday’s defeat.
“If you look at the Bournemouth players I don’t think (individually) they have more quality than what we have got in our dressing room.
“But if you take them as a team, they were a better 11 than us.”
Johnson insisted the managerial uncertainty – Gray has been given the festive period to impress chairman Milan Mandaric and earn the manager’s role on a full-time basis – had not disrupted the dressing room.
“One week ago we were all talking about Stuart as a great manager, but because we lost (on Saturday), we say ‘what’s happening, is he good or not?’ That’s football.
“When things are going well, it’s always ‘the manager is very good’, when you lose one game you say ‘we may have to change the manager’.
“That’s happened with Dave Jones, now the caretaker is Stuart. I think he has proved himself in four games, of which we have won two.”
Connor Wickham (hamstring) and Glenn Loovens (back) missed the Bournemouth defeat, but could return on Thursday.
Top scorer Wickham missed training yesterday, but defender Loovens returned and was joined by striker Chris Maguire, recalled early by Wednesday from his loan spell at League One side Coventry City.