Steve Bruce laments "unacceptable" 31-point gap between Aston Villa and Brighton ahead of busy summer

Steve Bruce has acknowledged that he faces a sizeable rebuilding job at Aston Villa after his side's final day draw at home to Brighton & Hove Albion meant they finished the Championship season in 13th.

The Villans boss finished in his lowest ever position in the second-tier despite Villa spending near £80 million across the January and summer transfer windows, and insists he will be busy in the market again in the coming months.

Following his first season in charge, Bruce has publicly targeted a promotion push next season as Villa look to return to the Premier League at the second time of asking.

Sunday's opponents Brighton will spend next season in the top-flight for the first time in 34 years, though Jack Grealish's late equaliser meant they missed out on claiming the league title as well.

Glenn Murray's penalty had put the visitors on course to claim a first-ever second division crown before Grealish's late intervention.

Yet Bruce admitted Villa, among other Championship clubs, are still "as jealous as hell" of Brighton's promotion back to the first tier of English football.

Bruce: Finishing 13th isn't good enough for Aston Villa

"We're 31 points behind Brighton. That's unacceptable for a club like ours," Bruce said in his press conference after Villa's draw with the Seagulls.

"I'm under no illusions, I've got to have a squad of players that is going to mount a challenge otherwise I won't be sitting here. Quite simple.

"It's important we have a good summer and pre-season and of course, the most important thing, is that we assemble a squad which is capable.

"13th is the lowest I've finished in my career. I can't be happy with it when I've got the most wonderful opportunity of my career.

"So I'll do anything I possibly can to get us a team which can find a way of being at the top end because at the moment we're not. After 46 games to be 13th with a club like this isn't good enough.

"It's fair to say I'm going to have to wheel and deal. It's not just a case of throwing money at it.

"We've got to have the right balance to the squad, which isn't quite right now. We've got to have good depth to it.

"The young lads we've got, I'm encouraged by that, with Keinan [Davis] and [Rushian] Hepburn-Murphy and [Andre] Green. They can add to it but there's still a lot of work to be done to get us where we need to get to."

Villa striker and top goalscorer Jonathan Kodjia, who netted 19 goals this term, is expected to miss the start of next season after undergoing surgery in Belgium on a fractured fibula this week.

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