Garde was brought to Villa as Tim Sherwood’s managerial replacement, and former boss Gerard Houllier has spoken to the Birmingham Mail to downplay the biggest fear about the Frenchman - his lack of Premier League management experience.
Houllier said: “Despite not managing here in England before, he knows the Premier League. First of all, he played in it. Even after that, despite being involved in French football he was regularly consulted as a TV pundit. He would go to games here, including matches this season. He knows the players in the Premier League, and he knows the level in England.”
When Garde was named manager of Villa, many people were suggesting that the Midlands club had made a mistake by not hiring a boss with Premier League experience.
Villa are in a relegation battle, and many fans believed that the team should have brought in a coach with a proven record at surviving in the English top flight.
However, Villa looked abroad, and hired Garde to replace Sherwood. He has an impressive record in France, keeping Lyon competitive when they were overtaken by the financial strength of PSG and Monaco, but he has never managed in England, and has never been in a relegation battle.
Despite this, Houllier has suggested that there is no issue with Garde’s appointment, as although he has never managed in the Premier League, he is well aware of the division.
He played in the English top flight with Arsenal, and has been a TV pundit in his latter years, meaning he has watched enough football to understand the rigours of the league. Houllier has stated that Garde has knowledge of the players in the league, as well as the quality level.
Garde managed a 0-0 draw with league leaders Manchester City in his debut game in charge, and so far his appointment looks to be the correct one.