The former Aston Villa manager has since taken charge at Sheffield Wednesday.

The Aston Villa chief executive, Christian Purslow, has defended the former Villans manager, Steve Bruce, after Monday’s Wembley success.

Bruce led Villa to last season’s play-off final but was sacked just five months later after a poor start to the new campaign and has since taken charge at Sheffield Wednesday.

But while the Wednesday fanbase has quickly taken Bruce to its heart, many of an Aston Villa persuasion continue to blame the 58-year-old – who in his final game in charge had a cabbage thrown at him by one Villans supporter – for their side’s early-season struggle.

Much of the Villa side promoted this campaign was in fact assembled by Bruce – something acknowledged by his Villa Park successor, Dean Smith, afterwards.

And speaking to BBC West Midlands on Tuesday, Purslow explained just how tough the Sheffield Wednesday boss had it last summer.

“Well, it’s a very different scenario (in 2018) to be looking down the barrel of a dramatic reduction in parachute payments with no cash, because the previous ownership had run out, and facing another year in the Championship, which is one of the most difficult leagues in the world,” he said.

“We now have two of the best-qualified owners in the world, two massively experienced investors in sport, fabulously well-resourced individuals, who want to do things the right way. So that’s the first and obvious positive.

“The second is we’re in the Premier League. The Premier League is the finest sports league in the world at marketing itself to the television industry, which means very significant chunks of television money are available to teams that play in our league. That’s not true in the Championship. So on a strictly financial level, it’s very different.

“But I’d like to think also on an organisational level. I often think Steve Bruce last year was on his own. He’s around a club, there’s no CEO, there’s no Sporting Director, the owner is under huge financial pressure. He’s more or less having to run a club on his own, with huge financial uncertainty, until the takeover happens.

“Now we have a full management team in place, very stable ownership, good financial conditions and so I think it’s as different as you could possibly be. It doesn’t mean it’s easy, doesn’t mean we should be complacent about that, because I want this club to be run in a thoughtful way and that means taking your time to get decisions right.”

Bruce’s Sheffield Wednesday side fell just short of a play-off place of their own, despite being 17th at the time of his arrival.

And Wednesday’s former Aston Villa midfielder, Barry Bannan, told Open Goal this week that a top-six finish would have been achieved had the Owls had another five games to play.

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