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Garde leaves Villa as relegation draws near

Remi Garde has left Aston Villa by mutual consent with the club seemingly condemned to relegation from the Premier League.

Garde was appointed at Villa Park in November after predecessor Tim Sherwood claimed a haul of four points from the opening 10 league matches of the season – the solitary victory coming on the opening day against AFC Bournemouth.

But the former Lyon boss has fared little better, winning just two of his 20 league games in charge.

Eric Black has been placed in charge until a permanent successor can be found.

A battling goalless draw in his first game at the helm against Manchester City proved to be a false dawn and a maiden Premier League win did not arrive until the visit of Crystal Palace on January 12.

Garde expressed frustration at the club's failure to secure any of his desired transfer targets during the mid-season transfer window and a 2-0 victory against fellow strugglers Norwich City on February 6 preceded an ongoing run of six straight defeats.

A 1-0 loss at Swansea City before the international break, where an error from goalkeeper Brad Guzan allowed Federico Fernandez to score the only goal of the game, left Villa 12 points behind fourth-bottom Norwich with seven matches remaining.

Villa's reshaped board under chairman Steve Hollis have been persuaded to act and former Leicester City manager Nigel Pearson has been reported as the club's primary target to succeed Garde.

Following the international break, Villa will play back-to-back home matches against Chelsea and Bournemouth.