Reality check for new Villa boss

LONDON • Aston Villa's new manager Remi Garde discovered just how hard it will be to save the club from relegation as the Premier League strugglers slumped to a 3-1 defeat by Tottenham Hotspur on Monday.

Garde, named Villa's new manager earlier in the day, watched from the stands as they slumped to their seventh straight league defeat, which left them with only four points from 11 matches.

Spurs meanwhile extended their unbeaten league run to 10 matches, and moved up to fifth in the table, above West Ham on goal difference and a point off the top four.

The hosts took the lead after three minutes, when Mousa Dembele forced his way into the penalty area and scored with an angled shot. Youngster Dele Alli then powered in a low shot from the edge of the penalty area on the stroke of half-time.

Jordan Ayew pulled one back for Villa after 78 minutes to give them a glimmer of hope, but Harry Kane sealed Spurs' victory with a curling shot to round off a superb move in the third minute of stoppage time.

Garde, sitting in the front row of the directors' box at White Hart Lane, would have taken heart from Villa's spirited late push.

However, they will need to show a far greater improvement if they are to avoid relegation, as they lacked confidence and rarely troubled Spurs.

"For the new manager, the shift the players put in shows that there is something for the manager to work with," caretaker manager Kevin MacDonald said.

Garde's first match in charge is a daunting one - against leaders Manchester City on Sunday. His first six matches are all against teams in the top half of the table.

With Spurs unbeaten in the league since losing to Manchester United on the opening day of the season, hopes of a top-four finish are rising.

However, manager Mauricio Pochettino insisted: "It's not important. The next game is important and we need to keep our focus and win the next game. Our start is good but that's nothing."

Tottenham's next game will be away to second-placed London rivals Arsenal on Sunday.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 04, 2015, with the headline 'Reality check for new Villa boss'. Print Edition | Subscribe