Aston Villa assistant manager Colin Calderwood has declared that Sunday was a great day for the football club as we took derby bragging rights over Birmingham City.
Hosting the near rivals at Villa Park for the tie, second half goals from Albert Adomah and Conor Hourihane returned bragging rights and all three points to the claret and blue side of the City, but far more importantly (many would argue) the three points gained moved us one point ahead of Derby County and into second spot in the Championship table and of course the automatic promotion places are where we want to be – irrespective of whether we can mount a late challenge on Wolverhampton Wanderers for top spot given their 12 point advantage at the moment.
Speaking to the Official Site as he met with the media following the game, Calderwood explained.
‘It’s a great day for the football club and our supporters. It’s always enjoyable when you win a derby. Our level of performance was high and we deserved to win the game. We created a few good efforts on goal in the first half, but started the second a little bit slower. But then our first bit of combination down the left led to the first goal. We maintained it then and created several moments for ourselves.’
Calderwood went on to credit the fans for the atmosphere on the day, admitting that by the end he ‘hadn’t seen it like’ that since the last time we played our Blue neighbours and he called on the fans to try and replicate that in the coming ‘big games’ so the 12th man more than played it’s part in helping us to consolidate our position in second spot and then as May nears we see if we can turn our attentions towards top spot.
With Steve Bruce being on compassionate leave following the loss of his father and illness for his mother until Saturday, he returned for the game and Calderwood added that he and the players were also delighted to have got the result for him and given him reason to smile given the week he’s had on a personal front.
‘It was great to see him here and it was a top performance for him. It doesn’t solve any of the issues but he can see what the players have done for him. The squad is very proud that they’ve done it for him.’
Whilst Bruce will obviously have a perspective on things, undoubtedly it must have boosted him given the manner of the performance overall from the team, the victory itself and provided some respite during a difficult period and that can’t be forgotten.
Fans however don’t necessarily need that perspective and can just rejoice in a good victory (once again) over Birmingham, returning the bragging rights to where they belong and on top of that moving into the automatic spots, even if it is only by a single point at this stage, is to be welcomed and does show a level of the improvement made and our far more consistent showings in terms of results even if we have to swallow some dodgy performances at points.
Ultimately this level is about results regardless of how you play and sitting in second spot given the way we started the campaign, well would anyone have not taken that as we head towards the middle of February.
Now it’s about building on that and celebrating the derby by ensuring we take further points from Fulham and Preston North End as we head towards the trip to Hillsborough and Sheffield Wednesday later in the month.
There’s still a lot of work to be done, there’s certainly additional improvements to be made and we’ll have a hiccup or two along the way, but it’s how we react to those that will define where we finish the season.
For now though, with the obvious caveat of not sitting in top spot, we are where we need to be and a massive headache over the summer will be avoided if we can look forward to the Premier League once more next season.
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