Sunday 18 February 2018

Aston Villa boss Remi Garde has spoken to Joleon Lescott about his Twitter post

Joleon Lescott came under fire last week after a Twitter post angered fans following Aston Villa's 6-0 defeat to Liverpool
Joleon Lescott came under fire last week after a Twitter post angered fans following Aston Villa's 6-0 defeat to Liverpool

Aston Villa manager Remi Garde has spoken to Joleon Lescott about his social media gaffe and insisted players must be educated on its problems.

The Villa defender enraged fans by tweeting a picture of a top-of-the-range Mercedes just an hour after a 6-0 loss to Liverpool 11 days ago.

Lescott apologised and insisted it was an accident after being bombarded by angry supporters on Twitter - following their heaviest home defeat for 81 years.

Rock bottom Villa go to Stoke on Saturday eight points from safety in the Barclays Premier League and Garde conceded Lescott's tweet did not help their cause.

He said: "Of course I had a discussion. He told me the same thing that he said to the press. He told me it was an accident. I have no reason not to believe Joleon.

"We were together speaking face to face. I believe what he said. I just said to him that I was not expecting from an experienced players, senior player, such an accident.

"It was not really helpful for the team. If it's like an accident then you cannot say any more.

"Many years ago if you imagine the same situation 20 years ago, before social media, only two or three people involved in this situation. Now it is two or three million people.

"Saying that, social media is fully part of life now, especially in the young population. As a manager as a club we have to educate them to be careful about the way they use it.

"This is life, it is not only football. Social media can be helpful or the opposite, not only football but like in general."

But despite not being a fan of social media Garde admitted clubs would not be able to ban players from it.

"I think it is a freedom for everybody. It would be very difficult to create a law for that and I'm not sure it would work," he said.

"I think in life in general we have to educate people to a lot of stuff, especially on social media, and that's all people are trying to do with all of this kind of stuff."

Rudy Gestede is available after a hamstring problem while Gabby Agbonlahor is fit after coming off against Liverpool following a dizzy spell.

Adama Traore (foot), Carlos Sanchez (hamstring), Libor Kozak (ankle) and Jordan Amavi (knee) are all out while Jordan Ayew remains banned.

The Villa board were due to hold a meeting on Thursday to discuss the club's situation and, while Garde has had an input, he does not want to get distracted from their survival bid.

He said: "I'm involved in that. Not especially at that meeting, but I am involved in a close relationship with the board and the chief executive (Tom Fox), but for the moment I'm more focused and concentrated on the football and the next game.

"My situation is not the most important thing - like the individual situation of every player or every person at this club is not important at this minute. What is important is the collective strength that everybody can put into Villa's situation to win games. I am fully focused on that."

Garde also confirmed he would not drop goalkeeper Mark Bunn, despite Villa conceding six against Liverpool.

"I won't change the goalie," he added. "This is a position on the field, like centre-backs, where you need stability. Mark has probably some responsibility for goals we have conceded. I don't want to forget for Mark - or the team in general - that Liverpool was Liverpool."

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