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Monday 5 December 2016

5 things the new Aston Villa boss must sort out

Published 25/10/2015 | 14:06

Tim Sherwood left Aston Villa after just 28 games in charge having replaced Paul Lambert in February.
Tim Sherwood left Aston Villa after just 28 games in charge having replaced Paul Lambert in February.

Tim Sherwood was sacked as Aston Villa manager on Sunday, and just hours later the club was bottom of the Barclays Premier League after Sunderland's 3-0 victory over Newcastle.

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David Moyes, Nigel Pearson and Brendan Rodgers have all been linked to the vacant post at Villa Park, where the fans have not seen a Premier League victory this season.

Here, Press Association Sport looks at five things the new boss must address to save the club.

1. Work within the current system

Tim Sherwood admitted all of the 13 summer signings were not completely his call and there was internal tension at the club.

Director of scouting and player recruitment Paddy Riley and sporting director Hendrik Almstadt are in the spotlight following their roles in transfers and any manager will have to work within Villa's current system.

It was clear Sherwood felt uncomfortable in this situation and he was never as 'on message' as previous boss Paul Lambert who would always deflect sensitive questions.

It is unlikely Villa will make further wholesale changes to their structure after getting rid of Sherwood, assistant Ray Wilkins and first-team coach Mark Robson - even if questions remain over its suitability.

Any new manager must be content with working with Riley and Almstadt although the pressure will also be on the duo following Villa's failed summer transfer business.

2.Harness under-performing players

Villa lost their four most influential players over the summer in Christian Benteke, Ron Vlaar, Fabian Delph and Tom Cleverley.

They replaced them with several overseas imports as Tim Sherwood failed in moves for proven Premier League players Emmanuel Adebayor and Aaron Lennon.

Idrissa Gana has impressed in spells while Jordan Ayew and Jordan Amavi could be valuable but they need to get up to speed in England.

But Gabby Agbonlahor has been anonymous on the pitch for months and Jack Grealish, for all the hype, is yet to consistently make his mark. Villa need their top players to perform.

3. Solve the Joleon Lescott problem

The defender was one of Sherwood's original targets and he finally signed him from West Brom on deadline day.

But the former Manchester City defender has looked a shadow of his former self and has twice been replaced at half time in recent weeks.

He was also at fault, along with Brad Guzan, for Chelsea's opener in Villa's 2-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge earlier this month.

Ciaran Clark and Jores Okore are returning to fitness and Lescott's place will be in danger and it would not be a surprise to see the ex-England star dropped unless a new manager can inspire him.

4. Return Villa Park to its former glory

Villa have suffered at home so badly it is hard to believe how they have survived with such wretched form. They have just 82 points from their last 81 league games at Villa Park. That is just 82 points from a possible 243.

The club are winless at home in the Barclays Premier League this season and Saturday's 2-1 defeat to Swansea was symptomatic of the failings which four managers have failed to address.

Villa Park is no longer a ground which opposition fear.

5. Unite the club

Aston Villa were in trouble long before Sherwood arrived to save them from relegation last season.

Since Martin O'Neill resigned on the eve of the 2010-11 season they have been on a downward spiral which Gerard Houllier, Alex McLeish, Paul Lambert and now Sherwood have failed to fix.

It has been a toxic atmosphere at times with fans questioning chairman Randy Lerner's enthusiasm for the club and their overall direction.

Lerner rarely attends games while chief executive Tom Fox has limited his press appearances and contact. There needs to be a definitive message from the top and the new boss will be in a position to give it.

Press Association

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