Roberto Di Matteo is Aston Villa’s new manager and charged with winning promotion back to the Premier League at the first attempt.
Under prospective new owner Tony Xia the former Chelsea boss has a lot of work to do to revive the club and pull them out of the tailspin which they have been in for almost six years.
Here, Press Association Sport looks at what the Italian, who won the Champions League with Chelsea in 2012, must do.
PURGE THE DRESSING ROOM:
For too long Villa players have got away with ill discipline, from Gabby Agbonlahor’s partying immediately after their relegation – for which he resigned the team captaincy – to Jack Grealish’s wild ways and Joleon Lescott’s bungled apology over his tweet of a top-of-the-range Mercedes in the wake of a 6-0 defeat to Liverpool.
Charles N’Zogbia has been a drain on the club but will leave when he contract expires in June and any misbehaviour should not be tolerated. Jores Okore was harshly banished, despite wanting to play, and Di Matteo should try to persuade the Denmark international to stay given he is one of the good guys at the club.
SWIFT TRANSFER BUSINESS:
Villa signed 13 players last summer, spending around £55million, but they will have to revamp the squad again after relegation.
Brad Guzan, Micah Richards, Lescott and Leandro Bacuna all lost the faith of the fans and it would be hard to see them regaining it next season. Jordan Ayew is likely to leave with Idrissa Gana and Jordan Veretout expected to follow him. There is a lot of work ahead, but trying to shift some of Villa’s flops will be easier said than done.
GET THE FANS ONSIDE:
Supporters had passed into full-scale revolt towards the end of Randy Lerner’s reign as Villa slipped out of the top flight for the first time since 1987. They have won just 30 of their last 114 home league matches and fans had cracked following five years of struggle and ultimate failure.
There will be expectation on Di Matteo to produce, given he is backed by Xia, and he cannot afford any false starts.
BE A LEADER:
Villa have lacked a true flag bearer for some time. Eric Black tried and failed to rule with an iron fist while Remi Garde was the wrong man at the wrong time. Throughout his reign Paul Lambert was the club’s figurehead as he was the only person speaking.
Di Matteo cannot allow himself to be the only man to front up at Villa, but he must be strong enough to handle the weight of expectation and control what has been an unruly dressing room.
The bottom line for Aston Villa is they need to bounce back to the Premier League at the first attempt.
The Championship will be a culture shock for many and they will be a massive scalp for most clubs in the division. They are 9/1 to win the title, behind Newcastle and level with Norwich, but as Leeds, Nottingham Forest, Sheffield Wednesday and Fulham have proved instant promotion cannot be guaranteed.
Di Matteo went up by finishing second with West Brom in 2010, but that season is his only experience in the league.