London - Newly installed Aston Villa manager Remi Garde has
rejected claims he was hired to help motivate the club's contingent of French
players, insisting that he is there to help the team as a whole.
The Frenchman replaced Tim Sherwood, who was sacked last
month with the club at the bottom of the Premier League table, and will take
charge of his first Premier League game when table-toppers Manchester City
visit Villa Park on Sunday.
Paul Lambert, Sherwood's predecessor at Villa, had
speculated that the club were targeting the former Olympique Lyonnais manager
in an attempt to motivate the quartet of French and France-based players they
signed in the summer.
Villa spent a reported 50 million pounds ($77.2 million) in
the transfer window, with more than half of that used to bring in the likes of
Jordan Amavi, Idrissa Gueye, Jordan Veretout and Jordan Ayew from Ligue 1, but
Garde has denied he had any instructions from the management regarding them.
Also read: Former Villa striker Yorke eyes vacant manager’s job
"My focus is the team - and the team result,"
Garde said, quoted by the club's website (www.avfc.co.uk).
"I won't care more about the French players. The team
is a whole team. We need to be all together."
The manager is under no illusions about the challenge he
faces to stave of relegation for a side that is without a win in the league
since they took all three points against Bournemouth in their season opener on
Since then Villa have lost nine out of 10, with their only
other point coming in the 2-2 home draw against fellow strugglers Sunderland on
Aug. 29, but the new manager insists they have the right "spirit" to
avoid the drop.
"I am quite confident because there are some very good
players in the team," he said.
"The team is unfortunate at the moment, I think.
Hopefully we can pull together and improve the level.
"The spirit I saw on the field (during Monday's 3-1
loss to Tottenham Hotspur) was quite encouraging for me. I am going to work on that.
"I hope we will improve in different ways. It's a very
short time before the next game on Sunday.
"I have no time. I know that," he added.For
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