Manager Steve Bruce was speaking ahead of the weekend’s clash with Wigan Athletic and as well as praising owner Dr Tony Xia for his support, Bruce admitted failure simply wasn’t an option for him at Aston Villa.
With Play Off hopes boosted with our recent victories and clean sheets, it’s still going to be a tough ask this year, and Bruce more than acknowledges we may have given ourselves too much to do, but there are certainly green shoots to cling onto once more.
Speaking to the BBC’s Football Focus programme, Bruce joked that ultimately failure would lead to ‘off with my big fat head’ but he was determined that wouldn’t be the case.
‘We’re the fifth most successful club in this country. I’ve waited 20 years for an opportunity like this. It is a genuine big club I’ve got to try and get this club up. I’m under no illusions and if I don’t it’s ‘off with my head’, it’s as simple as that, ‘off with my big fat head’.’
With recent improvements in our results and signs that players are bedding in and starting to show signs of partnerships and an understanding, with so many injuries at the moment it’s still going to take time and plenty of improvements need to be made, but Bruce feels if he gets that time we’ll be the better for it.
‘It’s had an awful couple of years so we’ve got to try and get it back. I think they realise how the club’s had a tough time and I think there are shoots of recovery, so all you say to them is ‘look, give me time and I’ll get it right’. Promotion next year? For a club like ours, that’s got to be the aim.’
In the interview Bruce also praised the support he’d received from our owner and was thankful that the support he’d received had been genuine and not simply interference.
‘He’s let me manage and get on with it. He’s said, ‘Steve, anything you need, anything you require, call me’. And, at the moment, we’re going along okay. There’s been no need to call him.’
Again though Bruce knows he’s not here to manage in the Championship for a few years, the aim obviously remains a top flight return and then improvements to compete at that level again.
‘He’s a big fan, he’s highly successful and highly successful people want one thing – they want success. So he wants to bring Aston Villa back to where it was before. A club like ours, of this stature, can’t be satisfied being halfway up the Championship.’
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