Aston Villa: Steve Bruce says team spirit is key to his side's Championship revival
Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce says the key to the club's impressive revival under him has been getting the players he inherited to play as a team.
Villa have put together a six-match unbeaten league run since Bruce took over at the Championship side on 12 October.
It is the longest sequence without a league defeat since Martin O'Neill's final season in charge in 2009-10.
"You can see the fans are now going home delighted," Bruce told BBC WM.
"I've heard that phrase about playing as a team being used. Whatever's been going on for the last 18 months, two years or whatever it is, we've had to turn it round.
"But the fans can now see their team playing with a little bit of pride to play for the jersey. That's what any supporter wants."
Bruce labelled last Friday night's 1-1 draw at second-placed Brighton "the best performance I've seen since I've been here".
He added: "You can't come to places like Brighton and play like that if you're not a team."
Although Bruce's Villa are still to make a significant move up the table, having only risen to 16th from 19th when he took over, they are now within five points of the play-off zone - and just six points behind his old club Birmingham City, in fifth.
Ahead of Saturday's home game with Neil Warnock's improving 21st-placed Cardiff City, Villa are already as high as fourth favourites to win promotion with leading bookmakers.