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Micah Richards told BBC Radio 5 Live Sport that when Steve Bruce was Aston Villa boss he used to show the Tottenham players running stats because he felt if his team outran their opponents then it would increase their chances of getting a result.

The now Newcastle boss was in charge of the Midlands outfit when they were in the Championship.

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Whilst Villa were trying to claw their way out of England’s second-tier, Spurs were thriving under Mauricio Pochettino’s stewardship, as well as reaching the Champions League final.

Nonetheless, Richards, who was coming towards the end of his career at Villa, as he shared an insight into Bruce’s meetings.

“When I was with Steve Bruce at Villa, obviously he wanted to score goals, but it was about defensive set-up first,” said Richards.

“We used to have a meeting every single week about stats and how much players have ran. And he always used to get Tottenham’s stats up.

“He used to say ‘if we don’t run this far in the game then we won’t win the game’ because he wants to outrun the opposition, and then once they tire, then try to get a goal. Then just be in a better physical shape than the opposition.

“That’s why he used to show us Spurs because they ran the most and Dele Alli and Son were ridiculous.”

Neville Williams/Aston Villa FC via Getty Images

In the end, Bruce’s methods at Villa didn’t work because they failed to win promotion under his stewardship.

But it isn’t a surprise that it was Tottenham he used to show as inspiration because they were one of the standout teams back then.

Whilst things have changed dramatically now Jose Mourinho is in charge, it was a team that should have added a trophy to their name, only to fall at the final few hurdles on a number of occasions.

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