Remi Garde: Aston Villa confirm ex-Lyon boss as manager
Aston Villa have appointed Remi Garde as their new manager on a three-and-a-half-year deal.
The Frenchman, 49, succeeds Tim Sherwood and will watch Villa's match at Tottenham on Monday from the stands.
Garde, who left Lyon in 2014 after three seasons, described joining the Premier League's bottom club as an "unbelievable honour".
"Obviously we have a difficult task in front of us but I'm looking forward to the challenge," he added.
A dose of reality from the chairman
Villa have slipped to six straight defeats in the league and, with just one win since the opening day of the season, the club sacked Sherwood after eight months in the job.
Chairman Randy Lerner said: "Nobody at Villa can deny that we are way behind. We recruited aggressively this past summer and it is our responsibility to now harvest this talent rather than buckle under pressure and criticism - we are better than that.
"Remi arrived with honesty, humour and a steely sense of what it will take for Aston Villa to be what it is meant to be - hard working, tireless, creative and unwilling to concede."
Former Villa boss Gerard Houllier, who Garde worked under early on in his coaching career at Lyon, told BBC Radio 5 live: "At the moment let's not dream, escaping relegation would be as good for the club as winning the title."
A risky appointment?
After recruiting more than £28m of players from French Ligue 1 during the summer, Villa will hope the ex-Arsenal midfielder can draw more from the likes of Jordan Amavi, Jordan Veretout and Jordan Ayew than Sherwood managed.
But despite coaching at Lyon, Garde has only managed one club - achieving league finishes of fourth, third and fifth while at Stade de Gerland, where he also won the French Cup in 2012.
Former Villa midfielder Ian Taylor told BBC Radio 5 live: "I'm always partial to giving a manager a chance and seeing how he goes but we're in a position right now where we need an instant fix and if Remi Garde can't give us that instant fix then you fear the worst."
Houllier added: "All I know is he's an experienced coach, a good manager. He did extremely well at Lyon in a difficult context where there were some financial restrictions. He managed to get some young players through who are shining now."
|European football writer Andy Brassell|
|"Garde turned down an earlier offer of the Lyon job in 2007 when Houllier left, saying he didn't feel ready for it. He eventually took it in 2011. Garde is not a man to leap before he looks."|
A testing start
Villa sold key players in Fabian Delph and Christian Benteke during the summer but Garde says Lerner and chief executive Tom Fox have "ambitious plans" for a club that has not finished higher than 15th since 2011.
His early movements at the club have not been straightforward, as fog ruined plans to travel to Birmingham on Monday. Garde instead flew straight to London to watch his new side play at White Hart Lane.
One of the crucial tasks for Garde - who speaks good English - will be to get Villa scoring more goals as only Stoke (0.82) average fewer goals per game than Villa's 0.9 in the Premier League.
His first game in charge will be at home to Manchester City on Sunday before a trip to Everton on 21 November.