Martin O’Neill has revealed the only target set by new Aston Villa owner Randy Lerner this season was Premiership survival.
O’Neill insisted Lerner’s ambitions for the current campaign were no higher than remaining in the top flight even when Villa briefly occupied a top-three spot in early November.
But now he is set to hold talks with Lerner about moving Villa forward next season with an influx of new signings expected during the summer.
O’Neill said: "Mr Lerner is over here and we will have talks. We are pretty well aware of what we want to do and something a bit more specific should come to mind at the end of the season. I am hoping we would all want to do okay. We want to take it onto the next step. Mr Lerner is looking at a five or six-year plan.
"But I know this season what he wanted was for us to stay up and then have a chance to look at things.
"While Mr Lerner’s own expectations at some stage will get very high, his own belief for this season was making sure we remained in this division.
"That was way back in October when we were winning games and in the top six. Never at any stage did he say finishing in the top half or achieving European football was a target for this season. I genuinely mean that.
"He had seen how things had gone the season before and knew we weren’t able to make that many signings before the August transfer window closed. If he had been here for four or five months before a ball had been kicked, that might have been a different issue but I think he realised by the time he got in here we were unable to do anything.
"I know we had some money set aside for one transfer, which was Stiliyan Petrov, but he realised it was going to be four months before we could do anything much."