The ex-Lyon manager's first game in charge of Villa saw them hold Manchester City to a 0-0 draw at home.
Aston Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan has praised new manager Remi Garde for giving the squad “confidence and belief” after the Frenchman’s first game in charge saw his side hold Premier League leaders Manchester City to a 0-0 draw at home on Sunday.
Speaking to AVTV after the match, in which Villa managed to survive a second-half onslaught to pick up their first point since the 2-2 home draw with Sunderland on 29 August, Guzan said of Tim Sherwood’s successor: “I think he’s obviously brought a calm demeanour to training and the dressing room. You could see his demeanour on the side of the pitch.
“He’s given the boys confidence and belief. When you’re at the bottom you need all those things.
“You need that backing from the manager to go out and play well and I think, especially for some of our lads, he’s given them a real boost.”
Villa remain bottom of the Premier League with just five points from 12 games going into the international break, five points adrift of 17th-placed Newcastle United, but Guzan is confident that a turnaround is not far off now their seven-game losing streak has been brought to an end.
“It was huge to stop the rot, as they say,” the US international continued. “Going forward, we know it’s going to be a tough task. We’re still in the bottom three and we still need to fight and improve our performances.
“But this is a small step in the right direction and that’s what we needed. We needed to stop the string of losing results and now we can build on this and give ourselves a platform to go forward.”
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Guzan himself played a crucial role for Villa in the draw with City, producing three big saves, including a vital second-half stop with his face to keep out Raheem Sterling’s close-range header.
The former Chivas USA keeper has endured a difficult 2015 so far, with a string of blunders creeping into his game, and he was even dropped from Sherwood’s side during last season’s run-in after making a goal-gifting effort in a 3-1 defeat to Manuel Pellegrini’s men.
Another mistake in last month’s 2-0 defeat at Chelsea saw some call for backup Mark Bunn to be brought into the line-up, but the Villa No. 1 has since been faultless over the past four games.
It remains to be seen whether he can rediscover the spectacular form that saw him win the club’s 2012-13 player of the year award, but the save from Sterling certainly would have reminded the claret and blue faithful of the Guzan of old.
“You just try to make yourself as big as possible and fortunately for me it’s come off my forehead and gone out,” the 31-year-old added. “You don’t care how you keep it out, as long as you keep it out.
“The guys in front of me were fantastic – I say that every week, but I don’t care if we win 5-4. If we get clean sheets that’s just an added bonus, but for me it’s about winning and picking up as many points as we can.”
Villa’s first game after the international break sees them travel to Everton on 21 November, when Guzan will look to outperform Toffees counterpart and long-time international teammate Tim Howard, who he is currently battling for the US No. 1 jersey.