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Wednesday 21 August 2019

Remi Garde staying optimistic despite continued Aston Villa slump

Remi Garde is yet to pick up a victory as Aston Villa boss
Remi Garde is yet to pick up a victory as Aston Villa boss

Aston Villa equalled an unwanted record after defeat to Watford but Remi Garde still believes he can revive the club's fortunes this season.

Saturday's 3-2 loss leaves Villa rooted to the bottom of the table with just five points - matching the lowest haul after 14 Barclays Premier League matches.

Swindon in 1993-94, Sunderland in 2005-06 and QPR in 2012-13 also had only five points at this stage of the campaign and all three were relegated come May.

Villa are five points adrift of safety and Garde, after three games as manager, is acutely aware of the task facing him but remains optimistic.

Told that some will now be writing off Villa's chance, the Frenchman said: "I heard that already and it will be over if we carry on that way but today I think we deserved a point, to be fair.

"Not in terms of the result, but the play was better. And I believe we must play well if we are to win points.

"When you always have to run behind in the score it is difficult but we had spells where we were good and I think we deserve better.

"But there were mistakes. We lack efficiency in both boxes and maybe we had lack of patience because we knew it was important to win.

"Because of this we didn't keep the balance like we did in first half, giving them chance to counter-attack so easily.

"It is difficult as obviously we have a lack of confidence both defensively and offensively.

"It is not a criticism but everybody has to improve their levels, and we can."

It was Troy Deeney who piled on the misery for his boyhood club.

Despite being a lifelong Villa fan, Deeney, who began his career at the midlands club before leaving aged 15, clearly enjoyed his 85th-minute header, sliding on his knees in celebration at the Holte End after putting his side 3-1 up.

A fourth goal in his last five games looked like giving Watford a comfortable victory but Jordan Ayew got Villa back within a goal in the 89th minute. Garde's team were then unable to find an equaliser in the 10 minutes of injury time allowed for a second-half injury to Heurelho Gomes.

Odion Ighalo gave Watford the lead but Micah Richards levelled just before half-time, before Alan Hutton's own goal gave the visitors the advantage once more and set up the dramatic closing stages.

Watford boss Quique Sanchez Flores praised his strike force of Ighalo and Deeney.

He said: " It's amazing the connection they had during the match. They are able to play on the long ball or on the floor. They cope well with whatever way we play.

"It's amazing what they are doing different.

"I have the impression he (Deeney) enjoyed his goal but it's normal when you come back to play against one team. You try to win always."

The game was stopped for almost 10 minutes following an injury to Gomes, who collided with team-mate Craig Cathcart when trying to cut out a low Hutton cross.

The Brazilian received treatment for a lengthy spell before being fitted with a neck brace and carried from the pitch on a stretcher. Giedrius Arlauskis, who played for Lithuania against England in last month's European Championship qualifier, came on for his Premier League debut.

Flores said: "He had a kick to the head but felt something in his neck. I don't know exactly but we will have scans and see the results."

Gomes was taken to a Birmingham hospital but was able to return home with the rest of the squad on the team coach.

PA Media

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