Chaotic is probably the only word that fits if we’re talking about Championship strugglers Aston Villa right now.
Sitting in the home end at Deepdale this weekend, it was pretty easy to see that manager Roberto Di Matteo wasn’t going to last much longer in the hotseat at Villa Park.
It took only nine minutes for the hoards of travelling away supporters to become uneasy and, lets face it, who could blame them? After five minutes, industrious Preston midfielder Ben Pearson had fired his side into the lead following some calamitous defending in the Villa ranks.
From there on it would be a struggle for Villa, despite this game being one they simply had to win. Even before the goal went in, it was the Whites who really came out of the traps, taking the game to the increasingly wilting Villa players. The game finished 2-0 to the hosts.
Cheers of “You’re getting sacked in the morning” rang out from the Alan Kelly stand throughout and it didn’t take long for the 5,700 travelling Villa fans to start joining in either.
So after the 2-0 defeat, few were surprised when, on Monday morning, Champions League winning manager Roberto Di Matteo was relieved of his managerial duties in the Midlands.
Where next then?
Well, quite simply, Villa won’t achieve any long-term success without a manager who is going to be at the helm for more than a handful of months. Tim Sherwood didn’t last, Remi Garde didn’t last and now, Roberto Di Matteo has gone too. That’s three managers in under a year that have seriously spent in an attempt to turn fortunes around and for what? Absolutely nothing.
Say what you like about the money spent, the players who aren’t really performing on the pitch or the supporters that pay top dollar to watch their team repeatedly under-perform, Villa need some stability.
They need a manger that is going to come in, turn the confidence of these increasingly beleaguering players around and get the supporters back onside. No more empty promises, no more cushy press lines. Change needs to happen and it needs to happen quick.
“There’s a team here that is good, it will come good for us”, were the words of Di Matteo after the match which, upon reflection, are pretty laughable. You were pulling the wool over no-ones eyes, Roberto. Your players are lacking confidence, form and for some reason, things just aren’t clicking and sadly, it had to come back on you.
Comments like this aren’t what Aston Villa fans need to be hearing right now. A slightly more harsh version of the truth might be a little more useful as they rumble into their next crisis.
One win in 12 matches in all competitions just isn’t good enough for anyone in the division, let alone a presumed early promotion favourite.
Villa are a team who are now facing the very real probability of a relegation scrap if things don’t turn around. It’s going to be the job of the next manager to do just that but it’s going to be an uphill battle.
I don’t envy the next man at the helm of Aston Villa one bit…