Steve Bruce reveals Middlesbrough plan and thanks football community for support after death of both parents

Villa's Robert Snodgrass tries to block a George Friend volley for Boro. Picture by Frank Reid
Villa's Robert Snodgrass tries to block a George Friend volley for Boro. Picture by Frank Reid
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Steve Bruce insists Aston Villa won’t take anything for granted against Middlesbrough despite their 1-0 Championship play-off advantage.

Mile Jedinak’s first-half header sees Villa in the driving seat ahead of tomorrow night’s semi final return leg at Villa Park.

The tie is delicately poised, with Bruce fully aware of the threat Boro pose away from home.

“It is not over, it is 1-0 at half-time. They have had good results away from home under Tony Pulis,” said Bruce.

“I don’t think we will take anything for granted. We have to be defensively rock solid again and hit them on the counter-attack.

“That was our game plan, that is usually what Tony does to teams. Derby did it at home to Fulham, sit deep and play on the counter attack.

“I thought my midfield players really took the ball, especially Jack Grealish.

“He was the outstanding player.”

Ex- Sunderland boss Bruce is going through a difficult time off the pitch following the death of both parents within the space of a few months.

His mothe,r Sheenagh, passed away on May 4, less than three months after his father, Joe. The Villa fans showed their support to Bruce at the Riverside and he has thanked everyone for their well wishes.

Bruce added: “The fans understand that in my personal life I have had a very tough, horrible three months. I can only thank the people for their support and encouragement, I will always be grateful for that.

“My Mam and Dad would have wanted me to get on with it. I can just hear them now ‘Pull your sleeves up, son, and get on with it’. That’s what we’ll do.

“The whole club and fans have been nothing but supportive.They understand when you lose both parents in a matter of weeks it is difficult for anybody, but the support I have received has been exceptional.”

He added: “The performance of the players was the main thing, they rolled their sleeves up and had a right good go.”