By Amir Mir

Aston Villa manager Roberto Di Matteo has begun stamping his authority on the team by bringing in a number of changes in order to build togetherness within the squad.

The Birmingham Mail report that Di Matteo is keeping the players together for longer before and after training in an attempt to build a lasting team spirit.

Former Chelsea boss, Di Matteo walked into a team which had managed just three wins last term as they were relegated into the second tier amid a disjointed club which led to the departure of the much criticised owner Randy Lerner.

It is said during training at Bodymoor Heath, the Italian called the players in for training at 9am and they did not leave until 6:30pm in order to change the mind-set of the under-performing crop of last term.

In order to create some much-needed unity the Villa boss has told the players to eat breakfast and lunch together as he prepares them for a gruelling championship season.

The Midlands club are currently on pre-season tour in Austria where they beat GAK 1902, 8-0 on Saturday and amongst the double sessions the players would socialise and rest at a nearby hotel.

As the Champions League winning manager aims to get the club promoted to the top-tier in his first season, it is said that last year’s highly criticised under-performers are working much harder as the new season edges closer.

In other Aston Villa news, football unites on Twitter as Villa legend Stiliyan Petrov plays his first game in four years after recovering from cancer.