A determined Alex McLeish set out his stall at his first media conference as Birmingham City manager — Premier League survival is paramount Birmingham City’s new manager Alex McLeish eschewed the glamour of his unveiling to deliver the most down to earth of messages — we must stay in the Premier League.
Club dignitaries, journalists, cameramen and photographers — from both sides of Hadrian’s Wall — congregated in the plush surroundings of the Gold Suite at St Andrew’s to welcome the former Scotland manager.
But McLeish, who has signed a three-and-a-half year deal and brings with him former Aston Villa No 2 Roy Aitken and long-time assistant Andy Watson, did not have his head turned from the task in hand.
A first job in the best league in the world this may be but unless McLeish can at least maintain but hopefully improve the one-point cushion that separates them from the relegation zone he will have failed.
On a day when others were talking about World Cup campaigns, near-qualification for the European Championships and runs to the top half of the table, the 48-year-old set more modest medium-term objectives.
"We have to make sure we stay in the Premier League," McLeish said. "That is the challenge, first and foremost, and then we will look at other things.
"I've never attempted to set too high a target in the beginning of every job. Let's get the next game won, let's get some points on the board and then we take it from there and try to build it slowly.
"We are going to assess the squad over the next couple of days, as quickly as we can, and have a look at them for the visit to Spurs."
But there was a word of comfort for the Birmingham supporters who have become wearied by the loss of seven of the last eight games and alienated by the farcical takeover situation that cost them their last manager.
"Birmingham is a real football club in every sense of the word, passionate fans. It is a great challenge.
"I believe we are good enough to stay in the Premier League," he maintained. "It is our job to get the best out of every player.
"That is what a management team does and I am sure we can get the best out of them and also look to where we can make some introductions come January."
McLeish won’t proceed with Gallic flair, however. Indeed he is a man who, having guided his national team to an historic 1-0 defeat of France, has the antidote to Gallic flair.
That said, neither will supporters be asked to see too much more of the prosaic ‘big lad alone up front running the channels’ approach that marked Steve Bruce’s last few months.
"We will try to get the best out of the players to begin with," he said.
"If you are asking me if we are going to play like Arsenal all of a sudden, I would say I don't have that magic wand.
"We've always asked the players to try to play the ball whatever system we have played. Even when we defended like in Paris, we asked the players to have the composure and bottle to pass the ball on the ground and they did it really well.
"It is all about making them believe and encouraging them. We've got some young and enthusiastic players, we will look for people to excel.