Seventh successive loss leaves Garde in no doubt about task facing Villa

Remi Garde was left in no doubt about the scale of the task facing him as the new Aston Villa manager watched from the stands while his new side slumped to a seventh successive defeat, leaving them rooted at the foot of the Premier League table.

Earlier in the day, the former Lyon coach signed a three-and-a-half-year contract to take charge of a club now enduring its worst start in its 127-year histroy but it became clear there would be no celebration to mark the occasion from the moment Mousa Dembele out-muscled Ciaran Clark on the way to giving Tottenham a third minute lead.

Dele Alli added a second for Mauricio Pochettino’s side on the stroke of half-time to cap a chastening 45 minutes for Garde with Harry Kane completing the victorythat moved Tottenham up to fifth seconds before the final whistle.

Garde, though, could at least draw some encouragement from an improved second half showing that brought a 79th minute reply from Jordan Ayew although that was not enough to change the manager’s view offered yesterday afternoon.

“Obviously we have a difficult task in front of us,” said the manager, displaying a keen sense of understatement.

Last night Kevin MacDonald remained in charge for his second and final game as caretaker-manager with Garde assuming full control for the visit of Manchester City next Sunday.

Tim Sherwood was unable to mould a winning team from a clutch of new faces and Villa owner Randy Lerner expects Garde to do better. “Nobody at Villa can deny that we are way behind,” said Lerner. “We recruited aggressively this past summer and it is our responsibility to now harvest this talent rather than buckle under pressure and criticism — we are better than that.”

However, reviving Villa will be a daunting challenge for even a manager well versed in the demands of a Premier League relegation battle and Garde is certainly lacking on that front with his only managerial experience coming during a three-season spell at Lyon.

The manager, though, arrives in the midlands backed by some impressive references with Villa chief executive Tom Fox sounding out Arsene Wenger who made the former midfielder his first signing when he took charge at Arsenal in 1996 while Gerard Houllier, himself a former Villa manager, also spoke positively of the man who worked as his assistant at Villa.

Whatever impact Garde goes on to have, last night’s performance confirmed there will be no quick fix. A difficult situation was made worse by the loss of Micah Richards earlier in the day with the Villa centre-back receiving a one-match suspension for his part in an incident in the players’ tunnel after the recent defeat to Swansea.

And any hope the visitors may have had of settling into the game disappeared the moment Clark got too tight to Dembele, allowing the Spurs midfielder to turn him much too easily and place the ball past Brad Guzan.

Scott Sinclair did at least force a save from Hugo Lloris after a rare Villa attack but it was Tottenham who dominated with Alli doubling the lead with a neat volley after first controlling Joleon Lescott’s clearing header on his thigh.

Had Villa not improved after the break they could have been facing humiliation but they responded positively. Ayew’s deflected 79th minute shot gave hope of a comeback but Tottenham had steadied themselves long before Kane’s first time shot wrapped up the win.

Tottenham (4-2-3-1):

Lloris 7; Walker 6, Alderweireld 7, Vertonghen 7, Rose 6 (Davies 82, 6); Dier 7, Alli 9 (Onomah 89,6); Lamela 6, Dembele 7 (Mason 69,6), Eriksen 8; Kane 7.

Aston Villa (4-2-3-1):

Guzan 6; Hutton 6, Clark 5, Lescott 6, Richardson 7; Westwood 6 (Ayew 38,7), Sanchez 7; Bacuna 6, Grealish 5 (Gil 65,6), Sinclair 6; Agbonlahor 4 (Gestede 46,7).

Referee:

M Dean 7

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