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

18 May, 2018, 14:31 | Author: Candice Daniels
  • Aston Villa reach playoff final with Boro stalemateMore

The Republic of Ireland global has been crucial to how Middlesbrough have performed this season and if it were not for him, they may not have had a realistic chance of playing Premier League football in the first place.

Referee Mike Dean chose not to send off Johnstone, instead giving him a yellow card, with Stewart Downing hitting the crossbar from the resulting free kick.

And Merson said: "Last two games... two years ago he had no future at Villa".

Bruce was appointed in October 2016, with Villa 19th, and has previously questioned the mentality and ability of some players to handle the pressure - although he expects no problems against Boro. We've just fallen short. If we bring our A-game to Villa Park and we get the breaks and we get the run of the ball - which I don't think we did have on Saturday - then who knows?

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I think our game-plan and game setup worked superbly, so the manager deserves a lot of credit for that.

They won the first leg 1-0 thanks to a header from Jedinak.

"It was two very good performances", the former Chelsea and England captain told Sky Sports News. "But the boys have been superb and we're off to Wembley with one more to go". The support from the lads, the dressing room is incredible.

Villa came close through Lewis Grabban and Conor Hourihane and were comfortable against a poor Boro side.

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