Roberto Mancini has four months to turn Manchester City into a top-four outfit.
It will not be the easiest of tasks for the Italian, who inherits a group of players who have struggled to consistently live up to their star billing despite losing just twice all season.
Here, we look at five men who hold the key to City's short-term fortunes.
SHAY GIVEN - Signed from Newcastle last January for a bargain £7million, Given has been outstanding for City this term. If the Blues are to edge further up the table, he must maintain that form.
ROBINHO - World-class on his day, Robinho too often looks disinterested, Wednesday's defeat at Tottenham being a prime example, when the £32.5million Brazilian was abject. Mancini must make a quick decision. If he can't make the most of his talent, the Italian should get rid, quick.
KOLO TOURE - A £15million summer arrival from Arsenal with enough experience for Mark Hughes to appoint him skipper. Yet Toure has too often been lax in performance and attitude. A fresh air swipe gifted Sunderland their second goal and about to leave for African Nations Cup duty. Is capable of much more. Has to deliver it.
EMMANUEL ADEBAYOR - The second part of the big-name former Arsenal double act. Unplayable when the season began, now not worth playing after being dropped yesterday. Mancini must somehow manipulate Adebayor back to top form, otherwise another £25million has been wasted.
CRAIG BELLAMY - Mark Hughes knows how to get the best from his fellow Welshman. And did. Bellamy is bound to be upset at his mentor's exit and has proved difficult to control for other managers. Mancini must try because the striker is a huge talent. But he may find it hard.