Axel Tuanzebe returns with a rallying cry for Aston Villa
Returning defender Axel Tuanzebe has issued a rallying cry to promotion-chasing Villa ahead of the Championship run-in, declaring: “Let’s finish the job.”
The 21-year-old Manchester United loanee is targeting the home fixture with Blackburn on Saturday week, as he prepares to make a comeback after more than three months out with a foot injury.
Tuanzebe was also on loan last season when Villa narrowly missed out on promotion through the play-offs.
And with Dean Smith’s team now back in contention thanks to a run of four straight wins, he is urging them to make this opportunity count.
“We had a lot of big characters last year. Hopefully we can bring it into this year, pass on the mentality and drive of what it means to us and the fans,” he said.
“Let’s not fail again. Last year was a big lesson. Hopefully we can strive and get to where we want to be this time around.”
He added: “Let’s take it step by step. The Championship is a bizarre league.
“You can easily lose to the team at the bottom of the league. We have to keep performing and get the wins required.”
Tuanzebe, who was in excellent form before suffering a fractured metatarsal in mid-December, acknowledges he faces a fight to get back into a defence which has kept three clean sheets during Villa’s winning run.
Tyrone Mings and Kortney Hause have both impressed in the heart of defence and Tuanzebe said: “I respect them both. I think they are great lads and performing well.
“It is not going to be easy to get back into the team, especially when they are winning.
“That is healthy. It keeps you sharp. I believe in my abilities to come back into the team.”