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The Boss: Bruce on Blackburn, huge away support, Dr Tony, Kodjia and Agbonlahor

The Boss: Bruce on Blackburn, huge away support, Dr Tony, Kodjia and Agbonlahor

Steve Bruce spoke to the press ahead of our away trip to Blackburn.

His views in full are below.

On Mile Jedinak’s absence through injury…

Make no mistake, Mile has been terrific. 

He has those leadership skills and he’s a proper man. 

In tough times – and we have had some – he’s been the standout figure. 

I think everyone has warmed to him because of his attitude. 

If you ask supporters, they have taken to him because he gives it everything he’s got – he’s an old-fashioned type. He’s a real warrior. 

He’s been terrific this season. 

On the need for improvement away from home next season…

It’s been away from home where we have been hugely disappointed this season. 

We have been in the bottom half of the league of away points. That has to improve. 

Our home record has stacked up. But on the road we have to improve. Five games won is not enough. It’s nowhere near enough for a club like ours. That has to improve going forward.

Our support is phenomenal and our supporters…well done to them. Steve Bruce
On the terrific away support at Blackburn…

We are going to Blackburn and we sit in mid-table in the Championship and we still have over 6,000 fans heading there – that’s the reason why we are a big club. 

Our support is phenomenal and our supporters…well done to them. 

We have to show up and make sure we do our jobs properly. We have to have it in our mind ‘we want to finish in the top 10’. We have a chance to - and with our stature have to make sure we do that.

We keep hearing there’s nothing at stake…if you ever needed reminding there is, it’s that we’re taking over 6,000 fans to Ewood Park. That is quite remarkable when you think we’re mid-table in the Championship. 

That’s the tonic for all of us to really grasp what this club is all about. 

Fair play to all of them making the journey up there. It’s up to us to make sure we show up and put on a performance for them.

On Birmingham City’s future being affected by Blackburn v Villa…

I said it last time – and reiterate it now – we will go up there and make sure we do our best. 

As I have said many times – for the City of Birmingham – we need two clubs. Everyone enjoyed the derby game – we need it. 

There’s friction to it, there’s an edge to it – but it’s something we want. 


On Dr Tony Xia being at Villa this week…

It’s been great to catch up with him. 

Dr Tony is an extremely busy man. We had a meeting on Wednesday about what’s ahead, what we have got, what we would like to do and what we would like to improve. 

He’s always very, very good – and his ideas are terrific. 

What he wants for the club is incredible. It was good to see him.

On next season’s ambitions…

I’m not expecting it to be easy. If we think ‘we’re Aston Villa, we’re going to romp the league’ we’re mistaken. It’s going to be difficult. 

There’s a big summer ahead of us. Let’s hope it’s fruitful.

You need physicality, endurance, attitude, toughness – all of those things are what you need to succeed in the Championship. 

Your team needs a certain resilience to be able to physically cope with 46 games. 

Its Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday, Tuesday – it’s relentless over the winter. It’s a tough, tough league. 

Then of course that bit of quality needs to be there. That’s the little bit of sprinkling we need at this moment. 


On the future of Gabby Agbonlahor…

When I first arrived, I watched Gabby walk across the car park and head out to train with the U18s. 

From that moment, I pulled him out of that and put him back in the first team. 

He went on a strict diet programme – he did very well with it. Unfortunately, then he got injured just when he was getting himself into some form of physical nick. 

All the hard work he’s put in, that moment at the weekend made it worthwhile. Fair play to him. 

He has a big summer coming up. By scoring the goal, he’s built a few bridges again. I hope he can grasp it and really knuckle down. I still think he has a lot to offer.

On Jonathan Kodjia returning…

He has two games to do it. It’s good to see him back. 

He’s had a terrific season. It’s always good to have your goalscorer back. We all know he can find the net from nothing. 

He can be very, very pleased with his first season at Aston Villa, regardless of whether he breaks the record or not.


On the fitness of injured trio…

Birkir Bjarnason, Jed Steer and Ritchie De Laet are making progress. 

We’re hoping all of them join in during pre-season 100% fit. 

We don’t expect any of them to take part in the season. 

We expect them to be ready for pre-season and available and fit enough to be in contention for the start of the season.

AVFC Official
By @AVFCOfficial 28th April 2017