Sport Soccer

Wednesday 25 April 2018

WATCH - Glenn Whelan's nightmare start to Aston Villa career took another turn for the worse last night

Glenn Whelan swapped Stoke for Aston Villa but his first month at Villa Park has not gone well
Glenn Whelan swapped Stoke for Aston Villa but his first month at Villa Park has not gone well

Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce urged the club's fans to stick by the team after they lost 2-1 at Reading and vowed he would be a success if given enough time.

The defeat extended Villa's winless Sky Bet Championship run to three matches at the start of the season.

Jeered throughout by sections of their 4,000 travelling fans, Villa offered little in a poor first-half showing and found themselves 2-0 down when a defence containing former England captain John Terry conceded twice early in the second period.

Midfielder Glenn Whelan, who has been singled out for heavy criticism from Villa fans on social media, was credited with an own goal after unluckily deflecting in an Adrian Popa cross in the 49th minute.

Modou Barrow tapped in his first goal for Reading six minutes later.

Conor Hourihane gave Villa hope, when volleying home in the 87th minute, but Reading held on comfortably.

"I'm the manager of Aston Villa and I expect the fans to boo," Bruce said. "The results aren't what they expect and I can understand their frustration. They've paid their hard-earned money to come and see the team perform and win.

"My message to them is ... I've been here many, many times and been successful at every Championship club I've been to. I've been able to get them promoted and, given time, I'll do it again.

"Now, whether I'm given that time, that's not for me to answer. But I sincerely hope so. It's a big job and I'm still in the middle of rebuilding it.

"I've got to get results, we're in a results business, I understand that. I'm under no illusions that we'll get them. But we need them quicker than we're getting them at the moment.

"It was disappointing tonight because I didn't think we deserved to lose. I was pleased with our response (to going behind), we could have gone under, but we still could have got something from the game."

Reading secured their first win of the season and stretched their unbeaten home record to 14 matches.

Manager Jaap Stam said: "It was very pleasing in how we played. From the start, we were very aggressive, sharp and concentrated in everything that we did.

"We showed a lot of quality on the ball and with our movement as well. We made it very difficult for the opposition. We knew how they would play, that they would press us.

"We needed to use the spaces and be patient at times and get into the pockets where you can get the ball. I thought we dominated the game in possession and, eventually, you are going to get opportunities to score.

"We should have scored more goals. Even at 2-0 up, we still wanted to go forward. And we knew they might be pressing higher up the pitch. We just needed to keep our cool."

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