Darren Moore said Burton looked to want the points more than Wednesday after our dismal showing delivered another hefty blow to those automatic promotion hopes.
With rivals Ipswich and Plymouth both winning yesterday, our 3-2 defeat sees the Pilgrims on top on 86 points from 41 games, the Tractor Boys a point behind from the same number of matches and Wednesday now in third on 84 points from 42 games.
It will need a mighty turnaround in form for Wednesday to take one of those two autos slots, underlined by another weak and totally underwhelming display at Burton.
When asked if he felt Burton wanted it more, the Owls boss said: “It could have been that because they won the game.
”It’s simple as that, it’s easy. They’ve won the game. So did they want it more than us? It looks that way because they’ve won the game.”
He added: “We conceded two first-time contact goals which, when I look back at it, has not been us.
“Whether it’s a lapse of concentration or a misjudgement of the ball. But to concede straight from a corner and then concede direct from a free-kick just wasn’t us.
“The penalty came too little too late for us to gain any momentum. As I said to the players, if you don’t perform, you can’t expect to win. We didn’t perform today so how can you expect to win?”
Barry Bannan twice went close for us early on before Burton took the lead on 22 minutes, ex-Sheff U man John Brayford allowed to head home at the far post, direct from a corner.
We were level within seven minutes, Callum Paterson’s low shot from the edge of the box finding the corner of the net, but we were rocked by two further Burton goals in the space of three minutes before the break.
Mark Helm was able to turn the ball home from close range after a free kick into the box and then the same player beat Cameron Dawson with a low drive.
Lee Gregory twice went close to pulling a goal back at the start of the second half but we rarely threatened after that until the 85th minute, making it 3-2 from a Michael Smith penalty after Marvin Johnson was tripped in the box by Joe Powell.
There was still time for Smith to send a header wide but it was all too little and far too late to salvage anything from the game.
Realistically, we now have to to win all our remaining four games, starting at Bristol Rovers on Tuesday evening, to have an outside chance of automatic promotion if our rivals slip up.
Plymouth are at Shrewsbury on Tuesday night while Ipswich entertain Port Vale. Fourth-placed Barnsley, now three points behind us with a game in hand, are away to Lincoln.