Steve Bruce: 'End of Championship playoff semi-final was agony'

Steve Bruce: 'End of Championship playoff semi-final was agony'

Steve Bruce: 'End of Championship playoff semi-final was agony'

Aston Villa boss Steve Bruce backed his players to handle the occasion as they continue to plot their promotion assault.

"It irks me a little bit but the teams who finished third and fourth are going to Wembley and that's justification of what they've done over the season".

Alan Hutton and Robert Snodgrass both doubled up on Traore on Saturday, with Albert Adomah also offering additional protection, and Pulis believes his side can exploit the spaces crowding out his star winger will leave behind. "But I don't mind getting kicked". "That'd be like celebrating at half-time in a league game". "I go on like I don't but I do. It shows the opposition are keeping an eye on me".

"You know that individual will not get fazed by playing for Aston Villa".

Aston Villa will meet Fulham in the Championship play-off final on May 26 after producing a spirited performance to see off Middlesbrough.

Too attacking, and Boro could be afforded an opportunity to do some damage on the break. In the 87th minute, as Middlesbrough were pouring forward in search of an equaliser, Villa goalkeeper Sam Johnstone appeared to step out of his penalty area and make a save with his hands in an illegal position. Striking the right balance will be key, but Grealish is confident his team-mates will not be taking anything for granted despite their success at the Riverside three days' ago. "We're looking forward to it, but it's only half-time".

"It was intense. I think our game plan worked very well so the manager deserves a lot credit for that". We did it, and it paid off.

The hosts again went close in the 39th minute as James Chester got on the end of Lewis Grabban's header before pulling his effort wide of the mark.

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