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The Boss: Bruce on Boro triumph, much more than three points, JT return date and squad injury/sickness update

Team news: Our line-up for Brentford Match report: Villa 5-0 Bristol City
The Boss: Bruce on Boro triumph, much more than three points, JT return date and squad injury/sickness update

Steve Bruce spoke to club TV following the 1-0 victory at Middlesbrough.

His views in full are below.

On a great end to 2017 and bringing a blip to a close...

We talk about the blip – it was a bad 45 minutes at Brentford and all of a sudden it spirals into crisis.

It was only a game and a half ago since we were 2-0 up against Sheffield United. A couple of mistakes cost us that time.

We've got to stop this hysteria when we lose games because we won't get anywhere.

Yes, we were disappointed against Brentford, but you only need to look at the scores across the Championship every weekend to see how difficult it is.

I know we're Aston Villa and there's a big expectation, but it turns into a crisis when we lose and it shouldn't.


On coming through plenty of hurdles to get the victory...

We've had three centre forwards missing tonight, two central midfielders, two centre-backs and two full-backs. 

And we've come up to Middlesbrough and played very well. I'm delighted. 

I hope it shuts a few people up again. It becomes very annoying being a week away from a crisis. 

We've got to stop that and get on with the job in hand – to try and take the club forward again. That's not easy. 

Middlesbrough are a very good side, who've had a new manager come in and won three on the bounce.

They've got some really good players all over the pitch, are physically big and they ask you questions.

We stood up to that today and played very well. That little bit of quality from Adomah and Snodgrass has got us the winner.

On the way we grew into the game...

We were comfortable in that second half. I can't remember Sam Johnstone making a save.

Defensively, we were rock solid. It's good to see because we're not without our problems going forward at the minute.


On a young bench that featured three Villa U23 players...

We've got some good kids coming through – the future of this club.

We've had four 19-year-olds on the bench today, which has got to be a first.

They may be called upon again in a few days.

On still being well in the mix...

We need the fans right behind us, and I have to say the thousands that came up today showed what they're all about again.

I still believe I'm the right man to take us forward.

I've been in this game a long, long time now. I'm determined to put it right.

We're level on points with sixth, and seven or so off automatic. There's still half a season left to play. 

We've been hit with huge injury problems. Let's hope that improves for us in the run in.

On his players' response after the disappointment of Brentford....

I'm delighted for the players.

Tommy Elphick wasn't playing yesterday – sickness to Glenn Whelan forced a reshuffle.

But it worked. The big physicality and experience of Tommy has been great for us today, which is good because he's not had an easy time since coming to the club.

He's proved what a good player he is today. It was good to see.


On another game against a promotion rival – Bristol City – on New Year's Day...

It's the beauty of the Championship.

Who would have thought Bristol City, Cardiff and Sheffield United would be where they are going into the New Year?

Not many would have, and that's how difficult it is.

Because we're Aston Villa, it doesn't give us a divine right to walk through this league.It's the same for clubs like Middlesbrough, who were in the Premier League last year. 

There's no divine right.

On injuries and sickness that's hit the squad...

We've got a few sick in Keinan Davis and Glenn Whelan. We'll see how they are tomorrow.

I can't see too many making it back for Monday. If need be, I will look at the young ones.

There will be a few back for the FA Cup tie next weekend, including John Terry.

That will give everybody a lift.

Dan Connor
By @danconnor 30th December 2017