Downing told the News of the World: “I think Gareth was the best appointment for the club because he knows it inside out. His job is on the line so he has to do what is best for us.
“He’s brought in some great ideas. He thought changes were needed and he’s been proved right.
“He said we were not fit enough as a team and we need more competition for places. He said we had to push for a UEFA Cup spot and I think that should be our aim.
“If we win on Monday night, I think that should put us in the top ten. If we get into the top seven, that would be a great season for us.”