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Garde admits he had to focus on defence

New Aston Villa manager Remi Garde insisted defending had to be the priority after his side held Premier League leaders Manchester City to a 0-0 draw on Sunday.

The hosts – who remain at the bottom of the table – did not register a shot on target at Villa Park, but their defence held firm to claim a valuable point and halt a run of seven straight league defeats.

After only three training sessions with his players and what he described as a “huge” gap between the two teams, Garde feels he had little choice but to try to contain City.

“I tried in the three training sessions we had to deliver my message,” he told BBC Sport. 

“Nobody expected we were going to score two or three goals. The difference between the two teams before was huge and making sure we were well organised defensively was my priority. 

“It was a nice experience and a fantastic atmosphere. It was a tough game. 

“I can be very happy with my team – I saw smiles on their faces. When you play with sadness it does not help you.”

Garde also explained why he made six changes to his starting line-up for the game, with Jack Grealish an unused substitute and club captain Gabriel Agbonlahor not even on the substitutes’ bench.

“Some of the players who didn’t start had problems during the week,” he said.

“No player will not play because he is French or Spanish or British. I saw in training how good or bad they were.”

Sun 8 Nov, 2015
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