New boss Remi Garde insists he has not signed up to prepare Aston Villa for the drop. The manager is also adamant he will have the final say on transfers after Villa’s failed summer business.
Garde was appointed as Tim Sherwood’s successor on Monday and then watched Villa slip to their seventh straight defeat with a 2-1 loss at Tottenham. He takes control for the first time for Sunday’s visit of leaders Manchester City, with Villa rock bottom of the Barclays Premier League, the former Arsenal midfielder said he is not contemplating relegation:
“I am confident, it’s 28 games to go. If we start winning things will change.
“Now it’s difficult but we can do it. I am not coming to prepare for next season in a lower division.
“I met the owner (Randy Lerner), I met Tom Fox (chief executive) we had very good meetings. I had very good feelings which made my decision to accept this difficult mission.
“I think Borussia Monchengladbach started with five defeats in a row and then they had six wins in a row. In football you never know.
“When, mathematically, it’s done you shake hands and it’s finished.”
Under Sherwood, Villa signed 13 players in the summer, with under-fire sporting director Hendrik Almstadt and director of scouting and recruitment Paddy Riley heavily involved.
Sherwood had hinted he did not get the players he wanted, but Garde insisted he is happy with the set-up and will have the last word:
“It’s something we are used to having in France. It is quite normal to have a sporting director. I had a big chairman, a chief executive, a chief scout as well (at Lyon).
“What is normal is I will have the final say, which is very important.
“You need people to support you and I took this organization as a support, not something I will struggle or fight with. We will have meetings and discuss where we can improve the team but I will say what I want and what I need.”
Garde also confirmed he will be joined by new assistant, former Bastia coach Reginald Ray, and fitness coach Robert Duverne who returns to Villa having worked under Gerard Houllier.