An unpopular choice for the Aston Villa job, Alex McLeish will need time to win his new set of supporters over.
The former Birmingham City manager was able to walk straight into Premier League rivals despite being at the helm of the Blues relegation last season. To win over his new sets of fans, he must change from his defensive approach and get Aston Villa off to a successful start.
The two-time Scottish Premier League winner as manager of Glasgow Rangers refused to change Birmingham’s failing tactics in the second half of last season, or more-precisely, after they won the Carling Cup. Sticking to the one-up-top, rely-on-defence tactics that had proven to be a success in the first half of the season, and after a successful first season in the Premier League, his failure to have a plan B backfired as the club limply dropped out of the English top flight.
Alex McLeish cannot afford that at Aston Villa. And surely he won’t. His current side have a much better attacking threat that his former club, with Darren Bent being supported by Charles N’Zogbia and Marc Albrighton.
Gabriel Agbonlahor’s pace on the counter attack has been used to moderate success by previous managers and no doubt McLeish will want to improve on that, despite the loss of Ashley Young down the opposite flank.
It will be interesting to see how many of the young talents the Scot will play that Villa have coming through. Fabian Delph has been around for a couple of seasons now, whilst Nathan Delfouneso has been on the cusp of breaking through for two.
Defensively, the heads of Richard Dunne and James Collins should be able to cover Shay Given’s weakness at dealing with set pieces whilst the arrival of Ireland’s number 1 makes for a straight stop with the outgoing Brad Friedel.
How will Alex McLeish play it? They open their season with a trip to Fulham today.