Bruce: Wigan made it ‘difficult’ for us

Steve Bruce
Steve Bruce

Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce admits there is still a great deal to be done if Aston Villa are to figure in the promotion race.

A late Jack Grealish goal gave Villa a 1-0 win over Wigan Athletic that they just about deserved on the balance of the 90 minutes.

But Bruce acknowledged: “There is still a lot of improvement needed and we have to play better.

“It was a frustrating game for us masked by a great goal from Jack late in the match.”

It was not until the 88th minute that Grealish scored an outstanding goal to clinch three points which move Villa to within three points of the play-offs.

Bruce quite rightly paid rich credit in particular to the individual performance of his match-winner.

He said: “I am really pleased for Jack.

“I am delighted I have him under my wing and I will try to help him as much as I can.

“It is not easy for a 21 year-old but it was truly a wonderful goal.

“Imagine what it is like to score a goal like that at Villa Park at 21.

“I never scored a goal like that in 30 years. That is true.

“For any young player it is difficult especially in the bright lights in the second city in the country.

“I want to try and improve him as a player.

“He still has a long way to go but he has that natural talent where he always looks he has time on the ball.

“He has now got me a goal and two or three penalties and in eight games he has contributed massively.”

The Villa manager admitted he had feared the goal was not going to come as the visitors dug their heels in.

Wigan, who only suffered their second defeat in nine visits to Villa Park, were quite happy to defend in depth in an attempt to salvage a vital away point.

They were in sight of their objective when the ball ran loose just in front of the penalty area to the unmarked Grealish, who whipped in a fine rising shot into the top left-hand corner of the net, well out of the reach of Jussi Jaaskelainen.

“It was a difficult game for us,” he added. “If I am honest we gave away the ball too cheaply.

“The more success we get teams are going to come and play like Wigan, but describing the game as being ordinary is correct.”