Sports

Steve Bruce hails 'terrific' Aston Villa as they reach play-off final

Steve Bruce hails 'terrific' Aston Villa as they reach play-off final

The playoff final will be held at Wembley Stadium on May 26.

Three of the four that managed to keep a clean sheet in the first leg retained their places with only the injured Ahmed Elmohamady missing from the game at Villa Park.

Villa is hoping to return to the Premier League after a two-year absence.

Jack Grealish, their cult hero, was again outstanding as Villa endured a frequently unbearable 90 minutes to finish off the job on their own turf, in front of over 40,000 fans.

Bruce is now just one game away from a fifth promotion as manager to the Premier League, having also taken Birmingham and Hull up via the playoffs.

"If there was any team that deserved to win, I felt it was us".

"It was a very good performance tonight", Terry told Sky Sports.

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Bruce said: "If I'm being brutally honest, maybe the referee got that wrong, maybe it could have been a red card".

"There is a great team spirit among the boys".

"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".

But there was a huge scare when Adama Traore attempted to lift the ball over Sam Johnstone in the Villa goal, only for him to save with his hand - outside the box.

A lack of scares at the other end was rather more comforting for Boro with Villa's best moment coming in the lead-up to the break when James Chester fired wide after Lewis Grabban's knockdown, while a fine saving challenge from George Friend had denied Conor Hourihane. We've just fallen short.

"It was intense. I think our game plan worked very well so the manager deserves a lot credit for that".

"I have a fabulous chairman, everyone wants to do things for you at the club".


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