Aston Villa: Jack Grealish kicked 'pillar to post' but must not be 'circus act' - Bruce

Jack Grealish
Grealish was booked for sarcastically applauding referee Andy Davies in the defeat at Cardiff

Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce hit out at Cardiff City's physical approach to Jack Grealish after their 1-0 defeat.

In their previous encounter, which Bruce's side won 3-1, Cardiff boss Neil Warnock complained that Grealish was trying to get his players booked.

"They have kicked him from pillar to post in both games," said Bruce.

"But Jack needs to learn not to react. We don't want players throwing arms in the air when they're tackled or think decisions have gone against them."

After Villa beat the Bluebirds on 26 November, Warnock said he was "disappointed" with Grealish's behaviour on the pitch.

"He's a very decent player and he has to be careful he doesn't turn into a circus act, waving his arms around every time he gets challenged," Bruce told BBC WM.

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Villa were awful, says Bruce

However, he urged match officials to give Grealish more protection.

"On the continent, they put up with that all the time. But we have to protect him. Every time he gets it, he's getting a kick

"But he can't keep waving his arms around. We don't want to see it in this country, from one of our really good young players."

The defeat left Villa seven points off the play-offs in 12th place and Bruce said his players needed to improve their mental toughness.

"I've now been in charge for three-four months and on the whole we've done ok, but then all of a sudden, we throw a hand grenade in, which is not good for anybody," he added.

"We've got to eradicate that. We're Aston Villa, and we've got to make sure that we play with a bit of a pride, like the club and the jersey deserves."