Steve Bruce: I've got the players to fix Aston Villa's shaky defence
Steve Bruce won’t be panicked into signing a free agent centre-back after claiming he already has the players to fix Villa’s defence.
Moves for John Terry and Robert Huth have been mooted following a rocky start to the season which has seen Villa concede 11 goals in their opening six Championship games.
Though a return for Terry now looks unlikely, former Leicester City defender Huth remains a possible target. But Bruce insists he won’t make a signing for the sake of it, while reaffirming faith in those players already at his disposal.
“It’s an alternative that we could look at,” he said, when asked about possibly signing a free agent. “But I made a pledge to Axel Tuanzebe that he will play.
“He can play centre-half, too, as can Mile (Jedinak). I’m also very confident that James Bree can play there.
“If there’s someone who I feel can improve us on the free market then of course we’ll do something.”
The struggles at the back have put scrutiny on Bruce’s summer recruitment. Villa missed out on deals for Le Havre centre-back Harold Moukoudi and Aberdeen’s Scott McKenna, while a move for Bristol City left-back Joe Bryan collapsed at the 11th hour. Despite that, Bruce allowed Tommy Elphick to leave for Hull City on loan.
The manager insists his failure to strengthen in defence was down to a reluctance to “stockpile” players.
Asked if he had left his team short at the back, Bruce replied: “In an ideal world, I would have loved to bring one in. We’ve got three months until the window opens again and I think we’ve got enough.
He continued: “We missed out on one or two but the easiest thing would have been to bring people in.
“If we’re going to improve and get better then we have to get better players.
“At that time there were no players better, that suited us, with the financial restrictions that we still have on ourselves.
“Yes, I would have loved to have signed a left-back and maybe a centre-back, but it hasn’t happened and we get on with it.
“It’s my job to be patient and do what is best for the club. We cannot just stockpile players for the sake of it.”