Garde critical despite FA Cup victory

Aston Villa's Ciaran Clark (second from right) heads past Wycombe Wanderers' goalkeeper Matt Ingram to break the deadlock in the 75th minute of the FA Cup third-round replay. Villa won the tie 2-0 to move on to the fourth round.
Aston Villa's Ciaran Clark (second from right) heads past Wycombe Wanderers' goalkeeper Matt Ingram to break the deadlock in the 75th minute of the FA Cup third-round replay. Villa won the tie 2-0 to move on to the fourth round.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Aston Villa manager Remi Garde singled Jack Grealish out for criticism on a night when late goals by Ciaran Clark and Idrissa Gueye gave the Premier League strugglers a 2-0 win over fourth-tier Wycombe Wanderers in their FA Cup third-round replay.

Garde made nine changes - including Grealish - to his side that drew against Leicester City in the Premier League at the weekend. But the midfielder was replaced by Carles Gil in the 73rd minute, when the tie was still goalless at Villa Park on Tuesday.

"Jack started and it was his first for quite a long time now, but I haven't seen exactly what I wanted to see from him tonight," said the Frenchman, who ordered Grealish to train with the club's development squad earlier in the season after the 20-year-old breached club protocol.

"I know he has played in the part of the game when we were not good collectively, when we were disappointing for the first hour or so. But then we started to play more collectively and simple.

"But it's not only about Jack; I was not happy with the way the team played the first hour. We were the Premier League team but for too long tonight I did not see that."

Clark's 75th-minute header and a last-minute Gueye strike earned last season's beaten finalists a fourth-round tie at home to Manchester City.

Garde could at least find some positives as the club are enjoying their best unbeaten run since December 2014.

"That is the fourth game in a row we are not losing, which is very good for momentum," he said.

Fellow Premier League side West Bromwich Albion also secured a narrow victory on Tuesday, winning 1-0 at second-tier Bristol City.

Venezuelan striker Salomon Rondon scored the game's only goal in the 52nd minute, chesting down Craig Dawson's cross and slotting home.

Fifth-tier Eastleigh, the lowest-ranked team to make round three, were eliminated following a lively 2-3 defeat at Championship bottom club Bolton Wanderers.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 21, 2016, with the headline 'Garde critical despiteFA Cup victory'. Print Edition | Subscribe