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Villa's Garde rejects rift rumours

Remi Garde has dismissed reports of a split in Aston Villa's dressing room and insists he has a good relationship with all of his squad.

Villa's slide toward relegation from the Premier League is beginning to look inevitable, a 3-1 defeat at home to Everton on Tuesday leaving the bottom side eight points from safety with 10 matches remaining.

Claims emerged on Friday alleging Villa's squad is split into two camps, with longer serving members of the team on one side, and close-season arrivals on the other.

It has also been suggested players are unhappy with Garde's methods in training and his failure to dish out criticism after matches.

But the manager denied the stories, telling a news conference: "I have a close relationship with all the team not just the French players.

"There have been no complaints to me about how I prepare the team."

Garde also refused to comment on the level of support he has received from chairman Steve Hollis and chief executive Tom Fox.

"My focus is on preparing the team, I won't comment on other issues."

Villa are away to Manchester City on Saturday.