Aston Villa in driving seat but what does Tony Pulis think about Middlesbrough's play-off hopes?

Stewart Downing on the ball for Middlesbrough. Picture by Frank Reid.
Stewart Downing on the ball for Middlesbrough. Picture by Frank Reid.

Aston Villa have the advantage heading into Tuesday night's play-off semi final second leg but Middlesbrough boss Tony Pulis insists the tie is far from over.

Pulis was angered by the defending for Mile Jedinak's 15th minute header, a goal which puts Villa in the driving seat ahead of the second leg at Villa Park.

But the Boro boss insists it remains all to play for with the Championship play-off evenly poised after Villa's 1-0 win at the Riverside.

"We’re obviously disappointed. I thought we did enough not to lose the game today. But it’s small margins, and the set play is a disappointment," added Pulis.

"We’re disappointed they’ve scored off that. Villa are in the ascendancy in the tie, you can’t hide that fact. Going to Villa Park, in front of a full house, it gives them the advantage. But there’s still 90 minutes to play, and anything can happen in 90 minutes.

"It’s all to play. It’ll be a full house, and I’ve been there before and experienced that. The place will be rocking, and Villa have got the advantage."

Villa boss Steve Bruce added: "We’re pleased. We know the Championship is riddled with strange things. We’ve given ourselves a small advantage but we’re winning 1-0 at half-time.

"To come here and keep a clean sheet, I thought we were excellent in what we did.

"I made the decision to try to get experienced players through the door so they could handle what Aston Villa throws at them.

"That was the reason for going for the experience in (Glenn) Whelan, (Ahmed) Elmohamady, John Terry and Mile. They can all handle the pressure of playing for a big club.

"When you’re asking them to play big semi-finals, then you need them to come to the party and I thought to a man they did.

“It’s still in the melting pot. Surprisingly the dressing room is very, very quiet. They understand it’s only half done.

"It should be a great game. You’re always wary of them because they have very good players, that why they’re in the play-offs."

Bruce also praised Boro keeper Darren Randolph after he produced a stunning save to push Robert Snodgrass' curling effort onto the post in the first half, with Villa leading 1-0.

The Villa boss said: "That would have been crucial. That was a great save. I think if that had gone in, it might have been all over."

Pulis added: "I think that was their only shot on target. There was the set-play, and the one shot on target that Darren has saved.

"That was what we had to contend with. I was more concerned with trying to get that little bit of quality up the other end. That was more of an issue rather than them causing us problems."