MX23RW : Monday, December 10 11:39:59

Steve Bruce warns Aston Villa players not to start dreaming of Wembley

Bruce: 'Villa players must stay grounded'
© Offside
Steve Bruce warns his Aston Villa players not to start dreaming of Wembley just yet despite a 1-0 lead in their Championship playoff semi-final with Middlesbrough.

Steve Bruce has warned his Aston Villa players not to get ahead of themselves despite their 1-0 lead in the Championship playoff semi-final against Middlesbrough.

Mile Jedinak's 15th-minute headed winner in Saturday's first leg at the Riverside Stadium handed the West Midlanders a slender advantage to take into the return leg at Villa Park on Tuesday.

Bruce, however, is not taking the first-leg result for granted, telling Sky Sports News: "We are pleased. Listen, all the cliches are going to come out, aren't they? Of course. We know the Championship is riddled with strange things. We have given ourselves a little advantage, a small advantage, but we're winning 1-0 at half time.

"I made that decision to try to get experienced players in the door so they could handle what Aston Villa throws at them. I thought it was vitally important that they can handle Aston Villa.

"That was the reason for going for the experience of [Glenn] Whelan, [Ahmed] Elmohamady, John Terry, of course, Mile - they all handle playing under pressure for a big club.

"When you're asking them to play in big semi-finals like tonight, then you need them to come to the party and, to a man, they did. I thought they were terrific."

Villa were relegated from the Premier League at the end of the 2015-16 season.


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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Norwich CityNorwich21134438241443
2Leeds UnitedLeeds21126335181742
3Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd21114634241037
4Derby CountyDerby2111463124737
5West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom21106544301436
6Middlesbrough219932314936
7Nottingham ForestNott'm Forest21810332221034
8Aston Villa218854132932
9Birmingham CityBirmingham217953025530
10Stoke CityStoke217952725230
11Blackburn RoversBlackburn217952731-430
12Swansea CitySwansea218582523229
13Bristol City218582524129
14Queens Park RangersQPR218492531-628
15Preston North EndPreston216783235-325
16Wigan AthleticWigan2174102329-625
17Sheffield WednesdaySheff Weds216692738-1124
18Brentford215793332122
19Hull City2156102130-921
20Rotherham UnitedRotherham214982132-1121
21Millwall2147102635-919
22Reading2146112634-818
23Bolton WanderersBolton2146111529-1418
24Ipswich TownIpswich2118121737-2011

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