Garde loses the plot as Defoe sinks Aston Villa
Sunderland 3-1 Aston Villa
Published 04/01/2016 | 02:30
Remi Garde looks lost at Aston Villa, his team look like a lost cause and the club will almost certainly be lost to the Premier League in May.
Rarely have things looked so bleak for a once proud footballing institution. Rarely have things turned so sour, so quickly for a manager.
Garde is new to the Premier League, a head coach answering for the recruitment mistakes of others, scrambling to get a grip on leading a poor team in the toughest domestic club competition around.
The Frenchman does not seem to understand how things have turned so bad so rapidly, or why he is unable to improve fortunes.
As he wandered around the Stadium of Light on his own in the aftermath of this crushing defeat against a Sunderland team who had lost five in a row during a miserable, confidence-sapping December, Garde looked like a little boy lost.
The Sunderland steward he asked a question of did not recognise him and - having been made to wait around in a corridor as Sam Allardyce spoke to the press - Garde's patience snapped and he disappeared before fulfilling his media duties.
He had already refused to shake Allardyce's hand after the final whistle, partly because he was "upset" about the result, partly because he was insulted by the fact his Sunderland counterpart had not said hello to him before the match.
When the bus eventually turned up to collect his shell-shocked players, several were abused by a militant group of their own supporters, sworn at and serenaded with chants of "you're not fit to wear the shirt".
As for Sunderland, this win breathed life back into them after a series of lifeless displays. They have players who have been here before and escaped and in Jermain Defoe they have a striker who has always scored goals at this level.
At the age of 33, Defoe swung the game back in Sunderland's favour after Villa's Carles Gil had cancelled out Patrick van Aanholt's deflected goal.
Sunderland won because of Defoe's sublime finishing ability and some dreadful mistakes by Villa.
"I am 33, but that is just a number," said Defoe, who has nine goals from 12 starts this season.