New Aston Villa manager Remi Garde gave an interview to L’Équipe this morning following his arrival at the Premier League side earlier this week. Highlights.
16 years after leaving Arsenal, you have returned to England.
It is great! I dreamt about coming back to the Premier League. I missed English football. I got to know it as a player. The I had the chance to come back to work for Canal +. That continued to give me a taste of this country. The way in which people live football, how they love their club.
Arsène Wenger encourage you to take the job in public. What sort of influence did that have on your decision?
I had already made my decision 98% before I heard about what he said. But it warmed my heart. I have often exchanged with him since I left Arsenal. He taught me a lot. Arsenal was an important moment in my career. I have always admired the way in which he managed players.
Today, my inspiration is the Arsène who arrived at Arsenal in 1996. He did not hurriedly put his ideas into place. He took time to understand the club. I am in that process.
Why did you accept the Aston Villa job after rejecting the Newcastle one in January?
I hesitated because Newcastle is an historic club here. I had quite deep discussions with their representatives. But it was too early. It would have been a betrayal of Lyon who I told that I needed to have a break.
What about this Aston Villa project convinced you?
I was missing the football pitch. 10 years ago, I would have never thought that. But once you have tasted this job, it is like a little drug. And then I had a good feeling with the owner Randy Lerner, and Tom Fox. They gave me the desire to take up this challenge.
A difficult challenge, no doubt. Aston Villa are in the danger zone.
I know that I am going to have difficult moments, difficult weeks. But I am confident. In Germany, Monchengladbach lost their first 5 matches and then won their next 6. So, why not?
You have already said that you want all the players to speak English in the dressing room. Was that a message to the French players?
Yes. I experienced that at Arsenal. When you are in a country, you must speak the language. The French guys must make an effort to integrate themselves. It is a question of respect.