Manager Steve Bruce has been giving his thoughts ahead of the clash this weekend with Ipswich Town.
With football returning after the November international break, Bruce opened by commenting that he was pleased we’d started better after this break compared to the last.
Speaking to the Official Site as he met with the media in his pre game press conference, he explained.
‘We played very well at QPR and the other night we didn’t play as well. But we found a way to win and that’s important too. Sometimes you don’t play as well as you’d like but being able to win is a good trait to have. That was the case the other night and I was comfortable with us not reaching the heights of the QPR match. We were still comfortable. The only save Sam Johnstone made was their one shot on target. We got through it and it’s another tough game tomorrow now.’
Having admitted the midweek showing wasn’t as good as QPR, he went on to say.
‘Ideally, you always want to play the way we did against QPR. But that doesn’t happen, unfortunately. That’s football. That’s the Championship. Teams go up and down with their form very quickly so it’s important that we’ve found a resilience. Sometimes you’ve just got to do the basics and now we face another tough challenge against Ipswich, where we know what to expect. It’s our third game in a week and our last before December begins, which is going to be very important.’
Villa go into the Ipswich tie looking for three wins on the spin.
‘If you’re going to be there or thereabouts at the end of the season you’ve got to be putting runs together. Overall I’ve been delighted with our form, other than in the first two weeks of the season. We had two disappointing results at Reading and Cardiff, but since then there’s been a resilience about us and results wise it’s been very good. We’re making progress and there’s still a long way to go. We’re where we want to be.’
With the injury to John Terry, he went on to say of the defence.
‘We know what a big difference John Terry made and losing him was a big blow. But the reason we brought in Chris Samba was exactly for this situation we find ourselves in. That’s the beauty of having a squad. I keep saying to them the shirt stays with people if they’re playing well. There’s times when I’m thinking, ‘do I change it? Do I freshen it up?’ But I’d have been disappointed as a player if I played at QPR and then hadn’t been picked for Sunderland.’
With Jonathan Kodjia the latest injury blow, Bruce has welcomed a few back to fitness.
‘People like Jack Grealish and Henri Lansbury have come back and they’ve had to wait, but they’ll have a part to play and will get their chance. They’ve been brilliant coming back after nasty injuries – especially Jack’s, which was a freak one. He gave a cameo performance that showed what we’ve been missing the other day. He was even going into sliding tackles, which was nice to see. His big part of the season could be just upon us, and it’s the same with Lansbury.’
As for Ipswich more directly, he knew it would be a tough tie.
‘We know what to expect from a Mick McCarthy team – they’ve made a very good start. He’s been there five years or so now and in my opinion he’s very underrated. He’s a very capable, good manager who’s been around the block. You always know what you’re going to get when you face his sides – they’ll be up and at you. They’ll never give anything up, just like Mick himself. They’ll mirror him.’
He added about owner Dr Tony Xia and his visit this week.
‘The owner is right behind everything and leads from the front. It’ll be great if we can make it three out of three for him. I’m sure that would round his week off very well.’
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