The Belgian full-back is perhaps bitter given he was rarely played by Bruce during his time at Villa Park, but has revealed why the 59-year-old ‘wasn’t his cup of tea’ in a recent interview with the Athletic.
He claims Bruce had no plan and claimed his ‘crazy’ approach to training saw him simply ‘throw the ball into the middle’ and say ‘let’s play’ – stating he treated sessions like they were ‘under-nines’.
Here’s what he’s had to say:
“It is a massive club but I never got going at Villa.
“The injury was a terrible time, then I couldn’t get into the side.
“Steve Bruce wasn’t my cup of tea.
“The football was similar to Tony Pulis but at least Tony had a plan.
“I remember Steve would throw the ball into the middle in training and say, ‘Let’s play’, like we were under-nines.
“It was crazy.”
Steve Bruce may not adopt the sort of meticulous approach players were used to under Rafa Benitez – with the Spaniard said to be obsessive with his focus on tactics and shape – however he seems to have won the players over and is getting results.
It’s not been pretty at times this season (well, for a lot of it in truth!), but team spirit has remained high, with his man management skills keeping the squad fully on board despite a turbulent summer on Tyneside.
I don’t think what we’re currently doing is sustainable, with us riding our luck on several occasions this season, but Bruce deserves real credit for getting this team into a surprisingly comfortable position at this stage of the season – a feat I did NOT expect him to achieve when he replaced Rafa Benitez.