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Steve Bruce reaping benefits of Aston Villa 'big player' policy

16 May 2018

Aston Villa are now preparing for tonight's huge game at home to Middlesbrough in the Sky Bet Championship Play-Off Semi Final second Leg. Villa won the first leg 1-0 at the Riverside Stadium thanks to Mile Jedinak's early header, giving them a massive advantage ahead of the second leg at Villa Park.

That was the closest either side came to changing the scoreline as they now switch attention to the second leg at Villa Park on Tuesday.

Having won the semi-final first leg 1-0 courtesy of a Mile Jedinak strike, Villa showed some organised defending to hold off Boro who were looking for an immediate return to the top-flight.

Villa had been considered favourites to advance from the tie after finishing seven points above Middlesbrough in the table and they cleared the first hurdle with a clean sheet intact.

"I'm very, very proud of the lads.

But the boys have been superb and we're off to Wembley with one more to go".

Manager Tony Pulis will be counting on his best player Adama Traore to inspire his side to success, but with the hosts bound to crowd out the Spanish winger like they did during the first leg, the Boro boss has a plan B for his attack.

"We've given ourselves a chance, we've given ourselves a small advantage, but we've been around long enough to know that we can't get carried away with it, that's for sure".

"That's the most important thing - that we turn up and we're a little bit more clinical in the final third - that was the only real negative, apart from conceding from a set play, of the game on Saturday".

Steve Bruce's side will now face Fulham at Wembley on May 26 for a spot in next season's Premier League.

"I think it's important playing two games in the space of four days to get a couple of days rest, which the manager is hopefully going to give us! It's hard for me to say that but that's being brutally honest".

Steve Bruce reaping benefits of Aston Villa 'big player' policy