Ex-Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert believes expectation levels at his struggling former club are too high.
Villa go to Southampton in the Capital One Cup on Wednesday having sacked boss Tim Sherwood on Sunday following six straight Barclays Premier League defeats.
They are bottom of the table and face Tottenham, Manchester City and Everton in their next three league fixtures.
Sherwood replaced Lambert in February, after the Scot was axed with Villa in the relegation zone, before guiding them to safety.
Lambert was never given the money Sherwood had to spend in the summer, as he brought in 13 new players, and missed out on a loan deal for then-Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku as well as the chance to sign Wilfried Bony.
And Lambert, who is yet to return to management since leaving Villa, believes the club need to get real.
“The expectancy level outweighs the realism at the club at the minute,” he told BBC Sport. “It was very hard for me from day one, everyone knew that Randy (Lerner) wanted to sell the football club.
"The most I ever spent was on Christian Benteke, I spoke to some really top players but we just couldn't do it. The players I wanted to bring to Aston Villa were big players, I spoke to Lukaku and Bony when I was there.
“That’s what I had to work with, it’s still a great club, but it should never be bottom of the Premier League.”
Under-21 manager Kevin MacDonald is in caretaker charge and has a fully fit squad for the trip to St Mary’s. He could still take the side for Monday’s trip to Tottenham.
Remi Garde remains the favourite to succeed Sherwood while Gus Poyet has also been linked but Press Association Sport understands former Leicester boss Nigel Pearson has not yet been approached by Villa.
Ex-Lyon boss Garde won the Premier League with Arsenal in 1998 and former Gunners team-mate Ian Wright reckons the 49-year-old would be a perfect fit.
“I remember when Remi arrived at Arsenal — actually on the same day as Patrick Vieira — and he was the most well- mannered, softly-spoken, quiet Frenchman you could ever meet,” he wrote in The Sun.
“We had a couple of years as team-mates, and he had the air of someone who would always go into the other side of football some day.”