Remi Garde has warned ‘unfinished player’ Jack Grealish he must fight to regain his place at Aston Villa.
The boss insisted the midfielder must start performing after dropping him in his first game.
Grealish was a regular under former boss Tim Sherwood but could be on the bench again for Saturday’s trip to Everton with Villa bottom of the Barclays Premier League and five points from safety.
He was an unused substitute in the 0-0 draw against Manchester City earlier this month, which ended a run of seven straight defeats, and Garde wants the 20-year-old to raise his game.
“Jack for me is a very gifted player with a lot of skill and quality but what I saw in the last few games he played was not the level he should have played,” he said.
“It is as simple as that. He needed more confidence and more structure in his game.
“He was running everywhere and then we tried to work on that. I have to say he has been very good in training these last two weeks.
“For me he is an unfinished player.”
The 49-year-old will also lay down the law to anyone not pulling their weight as Villa – who are winless in the league since the opening day of the season – battle relegation.
“I am not here to be a nice with the people,” said Garde, who has lost Jordan Amavi after the left-back suffered a season-ending knee injury while with France Under-21s.
“If you don’t tell the truth to the player it is useless.
“When they are good you have to tell them and when they are not good you have to tell them too.
“If you don’t work and you are gifted it is not enough. But when you work hard you will be rewarded for that.”