Remi Garde expects a response and an improved performance from his Aston Villa team against Watford.
Garde’s first defeat as manager was a heavy 4-0 loss to Everton last weekend in a game where Villa were three goals behind at half-time.
The display was poles apart from that which earned a goalless draw at home to Manchester City in the Frenchman’s first match in charge prior to the international break.
To make matters worse, just hours after the defeat young midfielder Jack Grealish was photographed partying on a night out and did not return home with the rest of the squad on the team coach – a breach of club discipline which has resulted in the 20-year-old being left out of the squad against the Hornets.
Despite the result at Goodison Park, Garde felt Villa could take some encouragement from their second-half showing and he wants his players to begin in that same vein in front of their own supporters on Saturday.
”The first half (at Everton) was quite disappointing for me,” said Garde.
”I thought that after the first goal we didn’t resist enough, lost too many challenges and didn’t create any chances at all for the first 35 minutes.
”In the first 35 minutes I didn’t see players who want to fight for the shirt. This is not the way I want to play, we were a little bit shy. The team is new and does not really know each other yet and we have to work hard to get to know each other.
”But the reaction in the second half was much better and this week in training we have been working hard. I am still very pleased with the way we train.
”I think we can do better than we have done and I hope we can improve on Saturday because it is my responsibility to find some solutions quickly, because we need them.”
Villa are without a Barclays Premier League win since the opening day of the season and are rooted to the bottom of the table, five points adrift of safety.
Garde did not go as far as to suggest that Saturday is a must-win match for Villa but neither is he underestimating its importance.
He said: ”It is a huge game but it is not the end of the season, nobody will be relegated at the end of the weekend. Well I hope, if that is so then we are in more trouble than I thought!
”It would be a huge boost in confidence for us to win this weekend. We want to, of course, win this game and we are going to try and do it in the way we want.
”But we will also accept a victory in the last minute, I have no problem with that.
”The first minutes will be important for everyone but the result at the end will be more important.”
Grealish has been dropped but some good news for Villa is the return to fitness of Jores Okore from a knee injury and the defender could be in the squad for the first time since the FA Cup final in May. Forward Gabriel Agbonlahor (calf) will be assessed.