Remi Garde is hoping the Villa Park faithful can help struggling Aston Villa achieve a positive result against Watford on Saturday.
Villa sit bottom of the Premier League having won just one of their 13 matches this season – a 1-0 victory at AFC Bournemouth on the opening day.
After taking over from Tim Sherwood at the start of November, Frenchman Garde steered the Midlands club to a respectable goalless draw with Manchester City in his first match in charge, but Villa were soundly beaten 4-0 at Everton last time out.
Villa have taken just two points from their seven home Premier League games this term, but Garde has urged fans to roar them on this weekend.
“It’s a big match for us. Home games will become very important for us,” Garde said.
“Until now the fans have been frustrated and the players, too, have been frustrated not to win at home [in the Premier League].
“It’s very important to focus now on Watford. We are working hard to prepare for this game.
“The supporters are very, very important. The situation where we are, somewhere we have missed confidence.
“The players need to feel that the fans still believe that we can do it.
“The fans were brilliant against Man City and we expect that, despite the bad result at Everton, they will still be behind the team.”
After back-to-back wins against Stoke City and West Ham last month, Watford have suffered successive defeats to top two Leicester City and Manchester United.
But a solid return of 16 points from their opening 13 games means Quique Sanchez Flores’ team are in 13th place, seven points clear of the relegation zone.
Flores will continue to demand the utmost desire from his players, warning against complacency after raising the club’s expectations.
“After 13 matches I am very happy with this points total and the performances of the team. But we need to forget about it,” the Spaniard said.
“Now we have to play the second part of the league. We have created a lot of expectation for Watford.
“I feel like what Watford are doing is very important to people. That means something is good and we are working well.
“But it is very important to manage the expectations. It is very important to keep humble, know the league is very long and very tough.”
Watford’s Valon Behrami could return from a knee injury, but Sebastian Prodl (calf) and Joel Ekstrand (knee) remain long-term absentees.
Garde confirmed that Jack Grealish will play no part due to a perceived lack of professionalism, while Jordan Amavi will miss out through a knee ligament injury that is expected to keep him out for the remainder of the season.
However, Gabriel Agbonlahor (calf) and Jores Okore (knee) are expected to be in contention for a return to Villa’s starting line-up.
Key Opta stats:
– Aston Villa have won six and lost none of the last eight meetings in all competitions with Watford at Villa Park.
– Watford have lost only two of their last seven Premier League away games (W3 D2 L2).
– No Premier League team has ever survived having accumulated five points or fewer after 13 games to a season: QPR in 2012-13, Sheffield Wednesday in 1999-00, Swindon Town in 1993-94 and Sunderland in 2005-06.
– Aston Villa have won none of their last 12 Barclays Premier League matches (D2 L10).
– Watford are the only team in the Premier League yet to score a headed goal this season.
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