Steve Bruce: Aston Villa experience was decisive
Steve Bruce reckoned Villa’s experience was the decisive factor after they won 1-0 at Nottingham Forest to go fourth in the Championship.
Scott Hogan’s 18th minute header, from a superb Robert Snodgrass cross, was enough to earn Bruce’s men victory at the City Ground and a third straight league win.
Villa, who welcomed back skipper John Terry for his first Championship outing since November, were comfortable for long periods of the game.
And Bruce said: “I think the experience showed. The big players performed.
“The number of fouls Robert Snodgrass drew was quite remarkable. They were fouls too.
“The big players. It’s the reason they are here with me.
“They have the experience of how to handle the expectation.
“I said before the game, we had an average age of 29 and 5,000 appearances between them.
“They have an average of 23, 24. Of course you have to match their effort and endeavour.
“Overall I thought we were very, very comfortable. It was a really good performance away from home.”
Villa remain five points behind second-placed Derby but now appear back on track after a difficult December, in which they went five games without a win.
Bruce reserved particular praise West Ham loanee Snodgrass, who also drew a fine save from Forest keeper Jordan Smith with a second-half free-kick.
“He is a very good player. I thought he was outstanding,” said Bruce. “I think he has enjoyed it here.
“Let’s hope he keeps going.”
The boss added: “I think we have only lost four in 25. There has been a level of consistency about us which has got us where we need to be.
“It is all about that in the Championship. We are in a good position. We would love to be ten points better off but we aren’t.”