Steve Bruce: Automatic promotion hopes still alive
Steve Bruce insists Villa’s automatic promotion hopes remain alive despite last night’s shock home defeat to QPR.
The 3-1 reverse, coupled with Cardiff’s 3-1 win at Brentford, means third-placed Villa now trail the Bluebirds by seven points with just nine games remaining.
But Bruce is refusing to throw in the towel and believes there are still twists and turns to come between now and May.
“There is still a long way to go,” he said. “That is the thing about this division. You can get upsets like we have had tonight.
“That is what the Championship is. When you are not at it.
“With all of us in the run-in, it is about what you do. We made a mess of it tonight.
“It was always going to be hard. We have to get ready for Bolton on Saturday.
“There is another big weekend at Easter. There are five or six games in a month. That is always the defining month. We will see where they are then.”
Goals from Ryan Manning, Jake Bidwell and Luke Freeman saw the R’s become only the second team to beat Villa on their own turf in the Championship this term.
Bruce accepted blame for the defeat, admitting he should have made changes to his team instead of naming the same XI which beat Wolves 3-1 on Saturday.
“It was always my fear,” he said. “The euphoria of Saturday and my experience of it. I toyed and toyed with changing it.
“In hindsight I should have done. I blame myself because I always thought it would be difficult to get the bandwagon rolling again.
“I thought long and hard about freshening us up and making four or five changes.
“But the manner of Saturday weight against me. They have done so well. My experience tells me the third game in a week was too much.
“We never got started and before we did it was one of those awful evenings.
“It was after the Lord Mayor’s Show and we did not get anywhere near the heights of Saturday.”