BRUCE BLASTS HIS ‘FRAGILE’ VILLA FLOPS
ASTON VILLA manager Steve Bruce admitted his team had been embarrassed in their drubbing by Cardiff City.
Nathaniel Mendez-Laing scored in either half and Junior Hoilett was also on target as Neil Warnock’s Bluebirds moved top of the Championship.
Villa were woeful in the Welsh capital and lacked a cutting edge in attack as they went down to a deserved defeat just a week after their opening-day draw with Hull.
Bruce said: “Everything went wrong apart from the first 20 minutes. We made a bad mistake for the first goal and after that it was on the verge of embarrassing at times. It was a rude awakening for us.
“We didn’t do the basics well and we looked fragile. Overall, it was a difficult afternoon.
“We have to do more. We are Aston Villa and we come with a big reputation. But away from home we have to be aware of what’s coming.
“There were two decent chances at 0-0, but we didn’t take them. It’s one of the biggest defeats I’ve had in the Championship, we lost all our shape and balance.”
Villa, who are hot favourites to secure promotion back to the Premier League, started well and Scott Hogan had two early chances to open the scoring, the second effort was well saved by Neil Etheridge.
With owner Vincent Tan a keen observer, Warnock’s Cardiff soon moved ahead.
Hoilett’s longrange shot was held by Sam Johnstone, before Kenneth Zohore also worked the Manchester United loanee.
In the 21st minute, the goal finally arrived. Hoilett’s inviting cross found Mendez-Laing at the back post, the winger finding space between Neil Taylor and John Terry to head home.
An entertaining first period also saw Villa lose Ahmed Elmohamady to a facial injury which may yet require surgery, Albert Adomah stepping in but failing to help the visitors from turning around a 1-0 deficit.
In the second period, Cardiff stamped their mark on the game as Zohore and Birmingham fan Mendez-Laing led Terry and Villa on a merry dance.
James Chester saw a deflected header hit the bar for Villa, but Zohore set up Hoilett for the second by escaping Taylor and crossing from the right. MendezLaing curled home a third to complete the scoring and send Cardiff City Stadium wild.
The Bluebirds have now won all three of their games so far this season and are yet to concede a goal in the Championship.
Tan confirmed he has no intention to sell the club to complete the perfect day for Bluebirds supporters.
Warnock said: “It’s more or less the perfect result and Vincent couldn’t have wished for a better game to come to. It’s those sorts of games that are why I’m still in football.
“I was delighted with the goals we scored and everybody played their part in front of a good crowd. I have a good bunch of players here, they’re honest and work hard for me. I wouldn’t want to play against the likes of Zohore and we saw vintage Hoilett today.
“For me it’s exciting what we have in attack, but we haven’t achieved anything yet.
“We are still in the early stages of the season and now we have to prepare for Sheffield United on Tuesday.”
HIGH CLIMBER: Nathaniel MendezLaing scores Cardiff’s first and celebrates, inset