Slaven Bilic: Remi Garde can still save Aston Villa
Remi Garde is "brave" for taking on the managerial reins at struggling Aston Villa but the Frenchman can keep the club in the Barclays Premier League, according to West Ham boss Slaven Bilic.
Aston Villa's future in the top flight appears bleak after picking up just seven points from their opening 17 matches.
Garde, who managed at Lyon between 2011 and 2014, was appointed as Tim Sherwood's successor in November.
And while Villa drew 0-0 with Manchester City in his first game in charge, the Frenchman is still looking for his first victory. Indeed Villa have not claimed three points in the league since their opening day win at Bournemouth.
"It is a brave decision, but it is the Premier League and it's a massive club," said Bilic ahead of his side's trip to Villa Park on Boxing Day.
"To manage every club nowadays is a very brave decision and you would say the same if Pep Guardiola signs for whoever he signs for.
"I mean you have to be brave to be involved in football. It shows that he has a strong belief in himself, in his work, and he has a plan."
Only West Brom, Sunderland and Leicester have avoided relegation from the Premier League after occupying the bottom spot on Christmas Day, but Bilic said: "They have a chance. I mean there are so many games left.
"You know when you are taking over, when you are the manager of a club, you are positive. They go and think 'yes, we can win.' For any club down there or close there, it's about picking up points."
Andy Carroll, who missed the draw against Swansea with a thigh injury may return to the West Ham line-up for their match at Villa Park.
But the Boxing Day clash will come too early for Manuel Lanzini and Dimitri Payet. However, Bilic expects to have Lanzini, who has been sidelined for one month, available to face Southampton on Monday and Payet for West Ham's trip to Liverpool on January 2.
"I have been saying for three or four or five weeks since we had those players getting injured, that the only way we can compensate is by playing together with team spirit, with the character, with togetherness with concentration in our game and by giving everything," Bilic, who is without a win in seven matches, added.
"Even without the players who are injured we have showed some good stuff - three clean sheets - so it's going to be a big boost for us, for when they come back. They are like new signings."