To recap the weekend properly, here’s what manager Steve Bruce had to say following defeat to Fulham in the Championship Play-Off Final.
Having missed out on promotion to the Premier League, Villa are set for another year in the EFL with an extremely poor and shoddy first-half showing, Bruce told the Official Site that we had to hold our hands up to our own errors in the game.
“If we’re going to be brutally honest, we weren’t good enough in the first half. The second was better. The real defining moment has gone against us, the young boy for Fulham should have been sent off. But overall we were really disappointed with that first half. We didn’t do enough with or without the ball. When you play in a big occasion like this, it’s disappointing.”
"There's nothing worse than losing. We're disappointed with the defeat.
— Aston Villa FC (@AVFCOfficial) May 26, 2018
The main disappointment from that is, well really we’ve seen it pretty much every game so far in 2017/18. The only game that stands out with us playing for near 90 minutes was victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers. Yes, you can caveat the season with numerous things to offset bits and bobs, but only playing for 45 minutes and showing what we could do in either half has long been an Achilles heel and it cost us automatic promotion and it’s now cost us our back up.
Improvement in the second half wasn’t enough and at too many points we were largely single-handedly relying on Jack Grealish to make something happen with others shrinking on the Wembley pitch.
We can even point to three possible penalty shouts, and two red cards, but however incompetent the referee was, we managed two shots on target and blaming anyone but ourselves would be lame after that showing.
That doesn’t mean reactions following the full-time whistle weren’t mixed though. It’s also not to say that some shuddered at the phrase ‘go again’.
The problem we have is in finding out the true ramifications of Financial Fair Play having spent to bounce back and failed. There are numerous examples of a side tasting defeat at Wembley and next season going one step further via the automatic spots, but there are no guarantees we can even keep the bulk of this side together now.
That could be a far bigger consideration than who the manager is next year for those calling for his head.
How did you work that out, same 11 started the second half but were a completely different team. Passing pushing forward attacking goal. 1st half wtf are we supposed to do with this ball. Bruce is the gaffer and he messed up 1st half #avfc
— Steve Jenkins (@Papajenko1) May 26, 2018
Just think what a mess Villa were in before Bruce. At least we made the playoff finals. Let's not get downhearted, but get ready for next season!
— Martin Hodson #FBPE (@MartinHodson1) May 26, 2018
Unfortunately I have to agree, I don’t like his negative play one little bit, counter attack football was never going to work against Fulham. Gutted but expected this result.
— ???????????????? ???? ???????????????????????? ???????? (@paulharrymassey) May 26, 2018
Terrible to lose both parents, been there! But this is a team game with a massive back room staff, and between them they couldn’t see what was going on! Wrong formation, substitutions left far too late, players brought back in who aren’t good enough (Elmo)! Rabbits in headlights!
— rob nicholl (@rjnicholl) May 27, 2018
Why play so negative, no villa fan would criticise you if we had gone for it, it’s the crap negative tactics and long ball crap
— Zac Carroll (@ZacCarroll8) May 26, 2018
Fair play to him. I've had enough of constant change at villa time we stood by him. He inherited a mess a villa and he got my Villa BACK!!! No better man to take us back to were we belong.
— John Mc Mullan (@JohnAVFC1874) May 26, 2018
So your after continued failure
Bruce has failed again with his negative football
He had built nothing he and wyness have wasted millions with no consideration to team when buying players
Hogan a prime example
— Kevin Starkey (@Kevsfat) May 27, 2018
I’ve supported the boys and Bruce all season but to blame the loss on a player not getting a red card is desperate. Bruce’s tactics were awful and we deserved to lose. First time I’ve said this, he’s had his chance and our support but time for a change #BruceOut #AVFC
— Kieron (@KieronWhetton) May 27, 2018
Nice man. Tried hard to get us up this season, but we need to be playing a modern style of football like Fulham & Wolves, which Bruce isn't capable of creating. We must not get left behind… New Manager with fresh approach please.
— Andrew Service (@AndoServise) May 27, 2018