Thursday 22 August 2019

Remi Garde fully focused on Aston Villa survival battle

Remi Garde is prepared for hard work at Aston Villa
Remi Garde is prepared for hard work at Aston Villa

New boss Remi Garde admitted Aston Villa have plenty of work to do after the 4-0 thrashing at Everton - but dismissed the suggestion anyone had let the club down at Goodison Park.

Garde's second game in charge of Villa saw the Barclays Premier League basement boys produce a performance that lacked in attacking threat, was at times embarrassing on the defensive front, and was ruthlessly punished by a rampant Toffees outfit.

The home side were 3-0 up by half-time thanks to Ross Barkley's brace either side of a header from Romelu Lukaku, who then added his second around the hour mark.

Villa are now without a win in 12 league matches and are five points adrift of safety at the foot of the table.

Garde made no secret of his disappointment afterwards, but emphasised the "energy" he would be dedicating to the task of trying to avoid relegation.

And when asked if he felt his players had let the club down, he said: "Not at all. It was not a question of letting it down.

"It was more a question of Everton being a very good side.

"They are well balanced and have known each other for a long time.

"We have a lot of new players, and we have to work all together to one day become like Everton."

The Frenchman, who oversaw a 0-0 draw with Manchester City in his first game at the helm, added: "Of course, I was disappointed, and the players were as well. We could have done much better.

"The Premier League is very physically demanding and in the first 45 minutes we couldn't answer. When you can't, you are in trouble, and we were.

"But I knew it would be very difficult today to grab at least one point. Now what will be very important is the next game, at home against Watford.

"There are still a lot of points to get so let's stay focused and all together.

"I knew we had a lot of work to do and we will do it. I knew before coming that it was going to be difficult, but I'm full of energy and I will carry on trying to do that with my players.

"The mission has not changed."

Everton boss Roberto Martinez was understandably thrilled with a display from his team in which the young attacking trio of Barkley, Lukaku and Gerard Deulofeu were outstanding - although he was particularly keen to flag the importance of the clean sheet kept, their first since September.

Martinez, whose side beat Sunderland 6-2 in their previous home outing and are up to seventh in the table, said: "I was delighted in the manner we played today - how we carried on the attacking threat from the Sunderland game, but also, more importantly, what we did off the ball and keeping a clean sheet. That was probably the key.

"Two games at home now with 10 goals from open play is quite remarkable - the talent we have we have going forward.

"But then more impressively was the manner in which we kept Aston Villa very quiet today and got a very good clean sheet."

Meanwhile, Garde was keen to express his gratitude after the French national anthem was played at the ground ahead of kick-off - as at all Premier League games on Saturday - as a tribute to those affected by the Paris terror attacks.

He said: "I was very impressed with the way all the decent people are sticking with the French.

"At the moment in France it is quite terrible, everybody is quite scared.

"When you are scared and you know everybody, every country around you is with you, it is very warm in your heart. I felt something very special.

"I thank all the English people everywhere who have showed us this tribute."

PA Media

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