Aston Villa boss Steve Bruce has defended his current playing style, promising that the side will change for the better, as he spoke ahead of the Villans' match against Nottingham Forest.
He also admitted that his sides have typically been set-up to sit back and avoid defeat rather than excite fans, even in his Hull City days. After a rocky start to his time as Villa boss, Bruce believes that his current team don't have the tools to bring an attractive style of football.
He conceded that his past failings have made him realise that his side can open up their play much more, and speaking before Saturday's league tie, per Birmingham Mail, he said: “What I will say to everyone is my first priority last year was to stay in the division, never mind who we are.
“We were in an awful place, a team who had won five times in 18 months.
“I’ll make no bones about it, difficult to beat, difficult to play, organised on a defensive structure – that is the way I thought would take us forward, to try and stop the culture of getting beat.
“I tried to open things up in January, too quickly.“I brought people in – Lansbury, Hourihane and Hogan – who had the top statistics in the division. It has taken them a little bit of time to adjust and settle into what Villa is.
“I make no bones about it.
“I just think now, where we are at this moment, I have a squad capable of mounting a challenge.”
Bruce is now keen to start partnering two strikers up top as he seeks this more expansive style of play, with Jonathan Kodjia and Keinan Davies expected to lead the line on Saturday.
Speaking about the expansive style, Bruce added: “I hear it against me. But I have played two up top in this division.
“I did it at Hull. A lot of people play two up top and three at the back. It has become very fashionable. I did that six years ago to win promotion at Hull.
“I didn’t think as a club we had it in ourselves, in my opinion.
“The statistics show that when I opened things up and tried to play that way, we got beat. I have gone to a 4-3-3.
“To play on the front foot? I have always tried to do that but that is where my thinking has been.
“Now I have Kodjia, the emergence of young Keinan, Snodgrass, Elmohamady.
“All the people I have tried to bring here are people to put us on the front foot.
“In that respect now the aim is to go and get a few results which will breed a bit of confidence and play in a certain way.”