Football: Villa boss di Matteo warns players to obey team rules as they aim for immediate promotion

New Aston Villa manager Roberto di Matteo at a press conference on June 15, 2016.
New Aston Villa manager Roberto di Matteo at a press conference on June 15, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

(REUTERS) - New Aston Villa manager Roberto di Matteo has warned his players to abide by team rules in the Championship, as they prepare to make a quick return to the English Premier League following last season's relegation from the top flight.

In Villa's previous campaign, talented midfielder Jack Grealish was banished to the under-21 squad following reports of a visit to a Manchester nightclub hours after a 0-4 loss at Everton in November, missing two Premier League games.

Goalkeeper Brad Guzan and defender Joleon Lescott also angered fans for playing a game involving chewing gum on the bench, as Villa were held to a 1-1 draw with fourth-tier side Wycombe in the FA Cup, according to British media reports.

"We are going to have our rules, our code of conduct and if someone steps outside there are certainly going to be consequences," di Matteo, who took charge at the club earlier this month, told the British media.

"I will have discussions with all the players, not just one or two. At the end of the day, there are rules people have to obey."

Seven-time English champions Villa, who last won the top-flight title in 1981 before clinching the European Cup the following year, finished 20th in the league last season to drop to the second tier for the first time since 1987.

Chinese businessman Tony Xia earlier this week completed his US$87 million (S$117 million) takeover and has pledged to restore the club to its former glory.