Roberto di Matteo has been dealt a blow before even taking charge at Aston Villa after his former assistant agreed to take another job.
Di Matteo, the former West Brom and Schalke boss who led Chelsea to the Champions League as interim manager in 2013, is widely tipped to be Villa’s next manager after holding talks with the club’s new Chinese owners recently.
Reports in Italy have called him ‘Villa’s chosen one’ amid claims that the success of Claudio Ranieri at Leicester and the appointment of Antonio Conte at Chelsea have made their nation’s coaches fashionable again.
However, former Schalke assistant boss Attilio Lombardo will not be joining Di Matteo’s backroom staff at Villa Park after he confirmed he would be joining up with Sinisa Mihajlovic at his next club.
The ex-Inter Milan boss has been linked with a position at both AC Milan and Torino.
Lombardo, who was part of Di Matteo’s staff for his eight-month stint in Germany, said: “Sinisa asked me to work with him and I will be there, even if I don’t know yet if it’ll be at Torino or elsewhere.
Â“We will certainly be together.”