Paul McGrath has classy response for Steve Bruce following criticism over tweet
Paul McGrath has insisted that he meant no harm in a twitter message that appears to have infuriated Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce.
Villa legend McGrath urged Bruce and the Villa players to show passion for the cause after a miserable run that has seen the fallen giants of midlands football lose seven of their last eight matches.
@AVFCTransTweet Steve Bruce is a great manager but has to see what's obvious to us fans . Work like it means something! UTV.— Paul McGrath (@Paulmcgrath5) February 12, 2017
That inspired Bruce to bite back at McGrath, as he suggested the contribution from the former Ireland defender was not welcome amid the current crisis at the club.
“I’ve been accused of not caring, which is the biggest load of bull I’ve ever heard,” Bruce told reporters.
The Villa boss was then asked to name who had posted comments that upset him and he offered this response: “It was a big player here, an ex-player.
“I don’t do social media and when I’m up against it, I certainly don’t.
“It disappoints me because you hear ‘my body language is supposed to be this or that’.
“I care deeply about it. It’s a great opportunity, a great club and I’m determined to turn it around.”
Now McGrath has responded by insisting he is fully behind Bruce and insists his tweet may have been misinterpreted amid a wide social media discussion he was having with Villa fans.
“Steve Bruce is a top manager and I would love nothing more than for him to turn things around at Villa,” McGrath told us.
“My tweet was in no way suggesting Steve was showing a lack of passion to get things moving in the right direction at Villa.
“I was just saying I wanted the manager to encourage the players to show more commitment at times, which may not have come across right in my tweet.
“I love Aston Villa and just want the best for the club and my frustration on twitter in the last few weeks has been there because things have being going against Steve and the team.
“You want to see players sprinting and chasing down every ball. You want to see them with their heads up and believing in what they are doing and while I know that is difficult when results are going against you, fans always forgive a lot if they see players giving everything to a cause.
“So if my enthusiasm has been mistaken for criticism of the manager of the team, then I hope Steve and the players appreciate that I wish nothing but the best for Villa.”
McGrath also posted a tweet that was critical of Villa striker Jonathan Kodjia for showing what he perceived to be a lack of effort earlier this month, yet that message was quickly followed by an apology and an exchange between the Ireland great and the player.
No need 2 apologise God, u'r a legend of the club & won the right 2 be entitled 2 express your opinion in everything 2 do with@AVFCOfficial https://t.co/I3dNU5EsGj— Jonathan Kodjia (@J_Kodjia) February 6, 2017
“I should never criticise individual players because that is not nice and I quickly retracted the comment about the lad Kodjia,” he added.
“To be fair, he got back to me on Twitter and sent me a lovely message, which was very good of him.
“All I want to see is Villa players giving everything for that shirt because it means so much to me and the fans who were so good to me in my time at that club.”
Villa’s slide down the Championship table will not be helped by the prospect of a game against league leaders Newcastle on Monday.
How Bruce must wish he had a player of McGrath’s brilliance to call upon in his hour of need.