Aston Villa chairman Doug Ellis has backed manager David O'Leary to deliver a top-10 finish next season.
O'Leary (left) has been set a firm target by his chairman
"I am a realist and I expect to be in the top 10 next season and we will budget for that," said Ellis.
"We have given the manager the opportunity to continue to try and achieve that. We have to make sure we have a hell of a different season.
"Our finish last season was disastrous. The manager has guaranteed me that last season was a one-off."
Villa finished sixth and 10th in the Premiership in O'Leary's first two years at the helm, but slipped to 16th last season.
However, Ellis denied that he had issued O'Leary, who took over as manager in May 2003, with an ultimatum.
"I know any successful football club has to have a relationship between manager and chairman with no inhibitions either way," added Ellis.
"It has to be blunt sometimes - and believe me I can be blunt. But I have issued no ultimatum to the manager."