The Villans are set to slug it out in the second tier this season following disastrous 2015-16 in the top flight last term.
Under Tim Sherwood and later Remi Garde after the former was fired, Aston Villa finished rock bottom of the Premier League after winning just 17 points and three games.
Eric Black took charge of Villa on a caretaker basis when Garde was also sacked toward the end of the campaign, with Di Matteo named as the Frenchman's permanent successor.
“We know that it's probably more difficult than the Premier League," the Italian said via The Star.
"It has many, many former Premier League teams, they are looking to get back into the Premier League, like we do.”
Aston Villa fans will be dreading the forthcoming season if it proves tougher than last time around. The Premier League might be head and shoulders above the Championship with regards to players and teams, but there is a fierce competitive element in the second tier and Di Matteo - who previously won promotion with West Brom - will know what's in store.
They kick off their season with a tricky visit to Sheffield Wednesday on August 7. Overall, the West Midlands side will need a sense of fight which clearly alluded them last season. Without fight, they are doomed again.