By Amir Mir

Steve Bruce aimed a dig at former Aston Villa manager Roberto Di Matteo by describing the players tiredness as “alarming”.

Recently-appointed Villa boss Bruce helped the Championship side to a point in Saturday’s 1-1 draw against Midlands rivals Wolves.

Villa conceded a number of late goals under Bruce’s predecessor, with a possible nine points dropped from five out of 11 league games under the previous regime.

Now the Italian’s successor was critical of Villa’s performance at the weekend, as they were lucky to leave with a point, going into the midweek fixture against Reading on Tuesday evening.

“We tired badly, which was alarming,” said Bruce, as quoted by the Birmingham Mail. “I think that’s an easy one [on it being a fitness issue] and I wouldn’t like to say that against any other manager, but it’s fair to say that some can be in better condition and I think that’s only right.

“That’s the difficulty when you have to make two substitutions through injury. But somebody’s just told me there’s been a lot of that and the previous manager has had a lot of that to deal with. It obviously causes you a problem.

“I can understand now why they concede late,” he said. “It’s blatantly obvious. We’ll go to work on that. It’s very difficult in this league as obviously we’re playing again on Tuesday.

“We’ll do everything we possibly can to make us better equipped to go and play in the Championship.”

Former Hull City and Birmingham City boss Bruce faces an uphill task to push Villa up the table and to a play-off spot.

The Midlands club are 20th in the league table, with 11 points from 12 games, as they are the Championship’s draw specialists with eight.

Bruce’s side travel to the Madejski stadium on Tuesday evening, they then host Fulham at Villa Park on Saturday afternoon, before they travel to bitter rivals Birmingham the following week for the second City derby.

In other Aston Villa team news, Sky Sports pundit Ian Holloway has slammed the players mentality ahead of Villa’s trip to Reading on Tuesday night.