Date: 1st February 2017 at 11:45am
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Steve Bruce signed Brentford’s best player for £14m then watched Scott Hogan’s old mates hammer another nail into Aston Villa’s play-off coffin.

Villa were one of the most active club’s in the country on deadline day but that didn’t prevent them from going down to a 3-0 defeat at Brentford.

The defeat leaves Villa ten points short of sixth placed Derby County with seven other clubs above them in the battle for a play-off place.

Bruce took Hull to promotion from the Championship last season and knows what is needed to succeed in the 46 match marathon.

From now on in it’s all about management with the cheque book tucked away until the summer.

“We can’t just keep thinking we are going to buy our way out of it,” Bruce told the Sporting Life.

“We have to look like a team and do the basics and in this division if you don’t do the basics right, you have horrible nights like tonight. As soon as we conceded we went all over the place and didn’t do a job at all.

“We have to question ourselves because it has to be a mentality we have to try to find away from home, where we are too easily beaten. We’ve bought some good players in that the club needs but we have to find the formula to get us through the rest of the season.”

Hogan is expected to make his debut for Villa on Saturday when they travel to Nottingham Forest who took Ross McCormack on loan.

Unless results pick up quickly it looks like Villa can forget about the play-off’s with Bruce facing a longer term task to return the club to the top flight.

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