By support

6th May, 2017 | 4:05pm

Bruce issues big warning to Aston Villa players ahead of summer exodus

By Matt Bullin

Steve Bruce has issued a warning to his players saying that they must learn to deal with the pressure of representing Aston Villa.

The Birmingham side have had a disappointing year in the Championship, and currently sit 12th, following their relegation from the Premier League last season.

Last time out they performed poorly and lost 1-0 to relegation battlers Blackburn, highlighting the issues within the squad.

The former Birmingham and Hull boss has demanded that his players start relishing the pressure of playing for a big club, rather than crumbling under it.

Speaking in the Birmingham Mail, when asked if his players have the mental strength to handle playing for Villa, Bruce said: “I think you’re born with it. We’ve got to improve on it and we’ll do everything we can.

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“We’ve got all sorts of people who can help us but at the end of the day, I honestly think you’ve either got it or you haven’t got it. It’s what makes the top player, mentally they’re tough.

“You’ve got to be a very, very good player to perform at Aston Villa because the demand is on you.”

These comments come after Bruce previously revealed to the Birmingham Mail that he would look to offload “12 or 13” players this summer as he aims to overhaul his squad.

Bruce’s cull has already begun, with several Under-23s regulars off-loaded before the end of the season.

Among the players who have been released are Tom LeggettJoe LinleyJerell Sellars, Johan Abdoul and Rory Hale.

Meanwhile experienced campaigner Libor Kozak has also had his contract cut short by the club.

Bruce has a busy summer ahead of him if he is to fill the gaping holes in his squad, with players who – in his mind – can handle playing for a club like Villa.

In other Aston Villa news,  David Prutton has delivered his verdict on the club’s season.

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