Tuesday, 14 August, 2018

Bruce: Villa were a mess after relegation

Steve Bruce explains how a change in Aston Villa's recruitment policy is helping them in the play-offs Steve Bruce explains how a change in Aston Villa's recruitment policy is helping them in the play-offs
Kristopher Love | 16 May, 2018, 06:26

Steve Bruce claims that the latter stages of Aston Villa's Championship playoff semi-final victory over Middlesbrough were "agony" but is happy to be going to Wembley.

Middlesbrough visit Villa Park tonight with the tough task of overturning Saturday's 1-0 loss to Aston Villa and subsequently book a place in the Championship playoff final alongside Fulham.

Steve Bruce's side will face Fulham in the final at Wembley as they look to return to the Premier League from which they were relegated in 2016.

He said: 'It's a big club, history and tradition and you need big players.

"As a one-off it's fantastic if you go up through the play-offs, although I would love to have been second and sitting on a beach now. Another clean sheet and a great night", Terry said.

Jedinak's first-leg goal making all the difference with the Aussie veteran playing another full game in the middle of the park.

At the heart of that defence was former Chelsea and England centre back John Terry who joined the club previous year on a free transfer and whose appointment as captain appears to have had a significant impact.

"Unbelievable, incredible, the support, the lads, the dressing room is unbelievable".

"Let's not get too excited, there's still one more to go".

Stewart Downing hit the bar for Middlesbrough late on but they did not register a shot on target. It also marks a good result for Villa's Irish contingent as Conor Hourihane started while Glen Whelan came on.

While Traore was by no means the only Boro player to come unstuck against Aston Villa, Tony Pulis' side are heavily reliant on his talent as they failed to create any real goalscoring chances.

"It's hard for me to say that but that's being brutally honest".