By Harry Sykes
Roberto Di Matteo has backed the Aston Villa summer signings to deliver under his successor.
The Italian was sacked on Monday just 124 days after being appointed by the Midlands club.
Di Matteo released a statement on Tuesday night to express his disappointment at his departure but is confident the players recruited at a cost of over £50million during the summer, including Ross McCormack and Jonathan Kodjia, will thrive during the months ahead.
Villa sit 19th in the Championship table with one win from their opening 11 games, following last weekend’s 2-0 defeat to fellow strugglers Preston.
Di Matteo paid the price and admits it was hard to take due to the efforts that had been put in at Villa Park following the club’s relegation from the Premier League.
“My coaching staff and I have worked tirelessly to rebuild the squad and I fully expect the players we have brought in to start delivering results in the weeks and months to come,” the Italian said in a statement on the League Managers’ Association website.
“I have seen enough over the opening games of the season to suggest that the team we have built will start converting draws into wins and climb the table towards the play-off places.
“I would like to thank the players, coaches, medical team and support staff at Bodymoor Heath, who are some of the most committed and talented I have worked with.
“I would also like to thank the fans and I am really appreciative of the support they have shown the club so far this season.
“Finally, I wish everyone at the club, Dr Tony Xia and the board, well for the rest of the season. I am sure that the work we have done over the past four months will contribute to seeing Villa back in the Premier League in the near future.”
Steve Bruce remains the favourite to succeed Di Matteo but Luton boss Nathan Jones is a surprise name in the frame.
In other Aston Villa news, Stan Collymore has responded to the club trolling Virgin Trains on Twitter.