Aston Villa news: Jack Grealish talks promotion hopes ahead of Leeds clash | Football | Sport

The midfielder has a running joke with boss Steve Bruce that his stats just do not match up with the Premier League’s best.

Grealish scored a wonder goal to sink Cardiff this week and would love another tonight against Leeds.

But the fact that he has become one of Villa’s most influential players does not mean he gets off lightly.

“Me and the manager are always having a little joke about my fitness,” said the 22-year-old. “He always says something like, ‘I want you to get to 12K per match’. He is always showing me stats of Roberto Firmino at Liverpool and Kevin De Bruyne where they are.

“He feels if they can do it, why can’t I. But most of the time Man City and Liverpool have got the ball.

“There was one game this season – I think it was Burton – where I covered 12.4 and all the other games are just under. At the moment I am having a little battle with him.”

Grealish, a lifelong Villa fan, is desperate to give the supporters the promotion present they yearn for.

“At the start of the season if someone would have said we would be four points off automatic promotion with four games to go people would have taken that – especially considering where we came last season, 13th,” he said.

“You never know what can happen in the play-offs. You look around our dressing room and we have so much experience and so much talent and young and good players.

“We have everything really when it does come together and we will take that into the last few weeks of the season.”

Leeds boss Paul Heckingbottom has won only two matches since his appointment just over two months ago but he thinks the pressure is all on Villa to win the match.

“We may produce a top performance, but Villa are a top side who can win in any way. They are dangerous but the pressure is on them,” he said.

“Hopefully we can be in their position next season. We want to be driving things forward from within and that is the carrot in front of the players, something exciting.”



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