Di Matteo tasked to take Villa to EPL

LONDON • Roberto di Matteo has been named the new Aston Villa manager and his former Chelsea team-mate Steve Clarke will be his assistant.

The Italian, who previously managed Chelsea and West Bromwich in England and Schalke in Germany, replaces Remi Garde.

The Frenchman was sacked in March prior to the club's relegation from the English Premier League.

Di Matteo, 46, and former West Brom and Reading boss Clarke, 52, have been out of management since last year.

Di Matteo, who guided Chelsea to Champions League success in 2012, was always the first choice for Xia Jiantong, the Chinese businessman whose takeover of Villa is awaiting Football League and Premier League approval.

Another option for Villa's new owner had been David Moyes, the former Everton and Manchester United manager.

The most pressing task on hand for di Matteo, who has not managed in the Championship, is likely to be overhauling the squad - eliminating underperforming players, while bearing in mind that teams in English football's second tier play more matches.

Xia has reportedly promised a huge transfer fund for his new manager.

On a busy day for managerial movements in the Championship, former Leicester City boss Nigel Pearson has joined East Midlands neighbours Derby County.

Garry Monk has been installed at Leeds United, Owen Coyle at Blackburn Rovers and Alan Stubbs at Rotherham United.

REUTERS, XINHUA

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 03, 2016, with the headline 'Di Matteo tasked to take Villa to EPL'. Print Edition | Subscribe