Remi Garde admits that Aston Villa’s desperate plight is giving him sleepless nights.
Garde has been unable to revive Villa’s fortunes since replacing Tim Sherwood as manager at the start of November, winning just two Barclays Premier League matches.
Defeat against Stoke at the weekend was Villa’s 17th league loss this season and leaves them firmly rooted to the bottom of the table.
On the face of it, Garde’s team are no worse off than when Saturday’s fixtures began – still eight points from safety. But the manner of the defeats is alarming, with Garde himself admitting that Villa lack the quality to score enough goals.
Even a point at the Britannia Stadium would have given Villa a lift and a psychological edge heading into Tuesday night’s home game with Everton.
But it was another defeat, more self-mocking from the fans, further chants against owner Randy Lerner and a protest planned for the fixture at Villa Park.
“I am not sleeping very well, as you can guess,” said Garde.
“I never relax, I am always watching football into the night. I am fully focussed on that. I will try to analyse what I need to do, what I can change.
“There are so many aspects of the game – psychologically, tactically, physically, technically. I try to adapt what I saw in the game, when I watch the game again, of course, like every game.
“I try to do my best in my position but it is difficult.”
Asked if he was finding it hard to continue in the job, the Frenchman said: “No, no. It’s difficult, but no way do I intend to leave this job, this position.
“You have difficult situations in life and you have to cope. I’m strong enough to do so and this is not a question for me.
“I am focussed on this and when that is not the case then I am no longer in football.”
Garde insists Villa need to improve at both ends of the pitch if they are to have any chance of earning a vital victory against Everton.
He said: “It’s a tremendously important game. Picking up the three points would be vital for us.
“Saying that, we know that Everton is a very good side – a very dangerous team with many qualities up front to score goals. We will need the perfect game defensively and then we will need to be more threatening offensively.”
Villa supporters are planning to walk out in the 74th minute of their next three home games, starting with the visit of Everton.
The protests are planned for the 74th minute to signify when Villa were founded in 1874 with supporters angry at the club’s lack of direction as Villa look certain to drop into the Sky Bet Championship.
Jordan Ayew is available again after serving a three-match suspension and the striker is likely to go straight back into the starting line-up against Roberto Martinez’s side.