West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic says Remi Garde’s decision to replace Tim Sherwood as the boss of Aston Villa was “brave”.
Villa sit rooted at the bottom of the Premier League with just seven points and one win. The Hammers will look to inflict further misery on the Midlanders by picking their first three points since October as the two teams meet at Villa Park on Boxing Day .
Bilic said: “It’s a brave decision but it’s the Premier League and a chance to manage a massive club like Aston Villa.
“You would say exactly the same if Pep Guardiola signs for whoever. In football you have to be brave but it shows [Garde] has a strong belief in himself and his work. He has a plan and he has good character and it would have been stupid of him to turn the job down.”
Although a win for Villa would still mean they would still sit at the basement end of the table by the end of the December 26, the last two clubs who sat at the bottom over Christmas – Leicester City and Sunderland – managed to avoid relegation.
Bilic said Villa had a very good chance of staying in England’s top flight with the top quality players at their disposal.
“They have a chance because there are so many games left to play. He has a football team that he likes. He is optimistic and that is exactly the way he has to be. Garde is not going to say he has no chance of winning or staying up.
“He has seen a lot of positive things. They have a team that is capable of scoring goals, they have some big names, they have international players who’ve played in a World Cup and have made some big money additions. He just needs a little bit of luck then it’ll change.”
Collins signs new deal
Meanwhile, West Ham defender James Collins, 32, has signed a two-year extension to his contract that will keep him at the club until 2018.
The Welsh international has made 160 appearances for West Ham across two spells having rejoined the club in 2012, after three years with Aston Villa.
He said: "I can't explain how happy I am to be part of a club that is moving forward and getting bigger. It was worrying that I'd have to leave again."
Although not one of Bilic's first choice defenders, he helped keep clean sheets against Stoke and Swansea in West Ham's last two games.
Collins said that the prospect of West Ham's move to the Olympic Stadium next summer was a key motivator.
He said: "It's massive. The thought of not being involved in it was getting me down a little bit."