Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce has said that he has to be ‘fairly pleased’ that we came out of Tuesday night’s encounter with Preston North End with a point as anything more would’ve been ‘unjust’ given how pathetic a performance it was again.
Hosting Alex Neil’s side at Villa Park for the midweek tie, they dominated chances on the day even allowing for our second half improvement with three effectively up front, and following Tom Barkhuizen’s 37th minute goal they looked pretty good value for all three points until substitute Lewis Grabban opened his club account with a 66th minute penalty.
Both sides had opportunities after that to steal the win, but even Bruce had to admit that had we taken all three points it would’ve been ‘unjust’ based on our performance.
As fans know we were without Jack Grealish and Albert Adomah for the game, and speaking to the Official Site as he met with the media following the game, that was obviously a topic for Bruce to cover – as it should’ve been as the team selection ahead of the game was the only topic fans seemed to discuss themselves.
‘We have to be fairly pleased we’ve come away with the draw. We could have nicked it at the death but I think that would have been unjust. In the first half we found it very difficult against a really decent Preston team – you can see why they’ve lost just once in 16 matches. They’ll be a threat for any team, so to take four points from six against them this season is a good return.’
As for the creativity front, or lack thereof.
‘Without the creativity and the set-up we’ve had in the last few months, we found it difficult and didn’t have enough to hurt them. I’m delighted with the response in the second half. We changed it round a bit, went from back to front a bit quicker and put two people up top. It meant we got something out of the match.’
Bruce is right, the moves in the second half when it came to substitutions were positive and designed to get us something from the match, but the half time score wasn’t a shock for anyone really. Most pretty much predicted it once the line up was announced.
We’re at home and the line up shouted ‘don’t concede’ rather than ‘go and win it’.
Even allowing for Robert Snodgrass, maybe Birkir Bjarnson making something happen forging forward…Conor Hourihane has found his scoring boots but not his creative boots…what was Scott Hogan supposed to feed of?
Bruce has got a lot right lately and the run of results shows that as did marginally better performances, but if we lack balance and creativity the answer isn’t go defensive in mindset.
Callum O’Hare sent a message on Monday, surely he was worth 45 minutes and there are others to consider. Will they change our season, no. Could they change a half as an unknown quantity, possibly.
Taking a risk on possibly has got to be a better option than banking on what we always get with a non creative plan B – a turgid showing and a point if we’re lucky.
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