Aston Villa caretaker boss Eric Black addresses claims of dressing room split

Rémi Garde

Reports recently claimed that the Villa squad had split into two camps as senior players openly questioned the departed Remi Garde's leadership.

Aston Villa caretaker manager Eric Black has insisted that former boss Remi Garde had the full support of the squad during their time together at the club.

Garde left Villa by mutual consent on Tuesday only 147 days into a three-and-a-half-year deal, having led the club to just two wins in 20 Premier League games after replacing Tim Sherwood at the helm in November.

The team currently sit 12 points from safety at the foot of the table with only seven fixtures left and reports leading up to the Frenchman’s departure claimed that a split had emerged in the dressing room over his training methods and man management [h/t Telegraph].

However, Black, who originally joined Villa from Rotherham United in January to work as a first-team coach under Garde, has stressed that he never saw signs of dissent towards the former Arsenal midfielder following his arrival.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference ahead of tomorrow’s visit of Chelsea, Black told reporters: “It’s always difficult when you go into clubs. I think you could go to any dressing room, and certainly in the circumstances Aston Villa have been in I wouldn’t expect it to be jumping with joy and everybody hugging each other.

“But I never felt any splits, I’ve got to be honest. All I can say is that in the time I’ve been here I didn’t feel any splits. I’ve seen splits in dressing rooms. When people are winning those aren’t apparent, but that’s not something I’ve been made aware of.”

Black was also quick to thank Garde for bringing him to Villa, before going on to stress that he believed the ex-Lyon manager’s results did not reflect his coaching ability given the situation he first walked into back in early November, when the club had taken just four points from their opening 11 games.

"First and foremost, I must thank Remi for bringing me into the club,” he said at his press conference. “It's a fantastic football club and he's given me a great opportunity to work here.

"I found him an exceptional individual and an exceptional coach under very, very difficult circumstances. I think I forged a friendship with him and enjoyed working with him.

"But we move on. The club has to move on, I have to on and Remi Garde has to move on. Aston Villa will always be Aston Villa and hopefully we can take the first steps – whether small or large – to take the club back to where the supporters want to see it.”

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