Friday 28 October 2016

Garde praises Villa's spirit

Southampton 1-1 Aston Villa

Declan Warrington

Published 06/12/2015 | 02:30

Joleon Lescott of Aston Villa celebrates scoring with his team mate Jordan Ayew
Joleon Lescott of Aston Villa celebrates scoring with his team mate Jordan Ayew
Southampton's Graziano Pelle holds off Leandro Bacuna
Oriol Romeu of Southampton scores past Brad Guzan

Remi Garde has told his Aston Villa team to use yesterday's draw at Southampton to inspire them to Premier League survival. Villa were outplayed before and after Joleon Lescott's close-range goal gave them the lead at half-time, but they remained resilient amid Southampton's increasing pressure to build on Oriol Romeu's equaliser.

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On an afternoon when struggling Sunderland and Swansea experienced defeat, a point appeared more valuable than it otherwise might have done, and Garde believes the result demonstrated his team's ability to avoid relegation.

"The spirit we have shown, the talent we have in the team," Villa's manager responded when asked why he thought survival was possible. "We played a very good side. A point, a very important one. We suffered a lot, we were under pressure. They have pace and powerful attacking players. It's a good point for us."

In Garde's first match in charge, Villa impressed in securing a 0-0 draw at Manchester City but then lost 4-0 at Everton and 3-2 at home to Watford.

Yesterday's draw gives Garde two draws and two defeats since his appointment, and this time, he stressed, it was important they build upon it unlike they did after the result against City.

"Everybody was fighting for everybody," he said. "We showed spirit. We need to show that in every game now if we want to avoid relegation. I still believe because there's still a lot of games [remaining]. The spirit is important. What we have shown is interesting for the future. I felt the same after Manchester City, then we dropped our fighting spirit. We can't do that anymore."

The draw also ended a run of three defeats for Southampton, but while Ronald Koeman was pleased with the desire his team showed to recover having trailed 1-0, he rued a collection of wasted goalscoring opportunities.

"If you start well you don't expect to be down after 45 minutes, but you hope the players will be patient and have the belief and confidence to get back in the game," the manager said. "The last 20, 25 minutes I thought we showed good character, had good chances and did everything to win. Some days you get your chances and don't score, and it was difficult. [Villa] dropped very deep.

"Congratulations to the players, their belief and spirit. We kept that until the last seconds. [But] if you get four big chances and not one on target, I don't understand. At least in the box, close to the box, the shot has to be on target. Maybe it's a lack of confidence, but they are quality players and they have to bring more."

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