Steve Bruce: Aston Villa manager keen to stay after play-off defeat

28 May, 2018, 16:44 | Author: Greg Lawrence
  • English Championship Play-Off Report: Aston Villa v Fulham 26 May 2018

The 18-year-old, who has caught the eye of many Premier League clubs this season, played a superb, inch-perfect pass into Cairney's path and the midfielder tucked the ball away.

The deafening sound as Fulham celebrated promotion under the Wembley arch gave a whole new meaning to white noise, for Slavisa Jokanovic's slow-burning, swaggering side had finally got over the line.

It wasn't to be for Villa, who had an extra man for the final 20 minutes after Denis Odoi was sent off for a brutal challenge on Tom Grealish.

Fulham finished third in the Championship and Villa one spot below, so there's a feeling that the two clubs deserved to meet at Wembley Stadium.

"We believe we can play this way, but we must know what characters and what players we need. For me, Fredericks should have had a red card", he said. "But now, I do believe they have enjoyed seeing what we have got at the moment". Fulham have been the better and more attractive side all season and, despite a valiant if limited fightback by Villa, they were superior yesterday.

Grealish raced to head just over with the goal gaping before Hourihane's cross-shot threatened, but Fulham were looking unsafe on the break and Aleksandar Mitrovic nodded wide.

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But although Fulham had an average age of three years younger than Villa, there was no sign of stage-fright from Jokanovic's team.

Steve Bruce's side were unable to show off their financial power this season due also to Financial Fair Play rules.

We saw in this past Premier League season that keeping a Championship core can bring you a successful season. We all are. With a big game, it's tough to swallow.

It defeated Derby County in the playoff semifinal on a 2-1 aggregate and features the likes of US defender Tim Ream and rising teenage English fullback Ryan Sessegnon.

Stefan Johansen should have put Slaviša Jokanović's two goals up but put the ball over the bar from the edge of the area after more good work from Sessegnon and then Aboubakar Kamara claimed a penalty after going down in the area but there wasn't much in it.

The United States, China, Japan or perhaps a player-manager role is a likely move for the 37-year-old if he decides to dig out his boots again rather than a clipboard. "Discussions have got to be had above me to decide what we've got and what we haven't got".

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