Remi Garde has this to say about planned fan protests at Aston Villa

The Villa boss admits that he can understand why the club's supporters want to make their dissent heard, but worries for the impact it will have on his team.

Aston Villa manage Remi Garde has told reporters that he understands why the club's long-suffering fans want to stage a protest, but has admitted he would rather it didn't take place during matches for fear of the impact it will have on his players, as quoted by the Press Association.

A faction of the Villa Park support are planning to walk out of the next three home matches in the 74th minute - a nod to 1874, the club's year of foundation - to voice their dissent at the club's situation.

Villa are sleepwalking to a first relegation in nearly three decades and currently sit eight points adrift of safety at the bottom of the table, having won just three Premier League matches all season.

Garde told reporters that he wished the protests would take place outside of the ground, but admits that he would never presume to tell the club's fans not to express their anger.

The Frenchman said, as quoted by PA: "I can understand. It's such a painful situation, such a painful season, that everybody who loves this football club has to cope with.

"Fans are fully part of this situation we have to deal with. If they want to protest what can I say? What can I do? I have only been here for four months and this protest is probably the result of years.

"I would prefer if this kind of demonstration takes place outside the game while we still have the possibility to win games for survival.

"My job is to believe we can still win games. And the best way to win games is to prepare the team well and make sure the players have the full desire to win. Then we need the support of the fans. But I haven't got any advice to give to fans who have followed this club for years."

Villa have gone from consistently finishing in the Premier League's top six to certainties for the Championship in just six years, and in truth their relegation has been coming after seasons of underachievement.

Since finishing ninth in the first season after Martin O'Neill's departure at the start of the 2010-11 campaign, the Villans have not finished higher than 15th in the table.

This season has been a disaster from the moment the club threw away a draw at Crystal Palace in August, and the 6-0 humiliation at the hands of Liverpool at Villa Park last time out - Villa's worst home defeat in 81 years - was the final straw for many supporters.

Garde's side travel to Stoke City on Saturday.

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