Press Association Boss Remi Garde hopes crunch talks between the Aston Villa hierarchy will begin to resolve the club’s problems. “I understand the fans’ frustration but if you look at every cup round in every country there is always at least one big surprise,” he said. “There has been in this country last weekend. I think we played in a way that probably didn’t deserve a better result. But to be fair I don’t think we need to apologise. “The best apology we could give is to win the next game and give a better performance.” Garde has already lost out on players because of Villa’s position at the bottom of the league and knows the squad needs another overhaul in the summer, despite the club signing 13 new players last year. He added: ” In the long term, for sure. But during this transfer window as I have said, January is not the best time to do things because it is very difficult for many reasons.” “The support that I need to make things better for the team,” he said, when asked what he hoped would come from the meeting. “To be fair I feel the total support from the board and Randy Lerner for a long time now. It’s more about the players now.” Garde has asked Lerner to address Villa’s desperate situation with the owner having barely spoken to the press since 2010 as he has only been at the crisis club since replacing Tim Sherwood in November. He said: “This is something I asked from them (Lerner and Fox) a fortnight ago, or something like that. Not to take the pressure off me – if I didn’t want the pressure I wouldn’t have this job.” Villa are 11 points from safety and have not won in the league since the opening day of the season – a club record run of 19 games. Garde and the squad were abused by fans after their 1-1 FA Cup draw at Wycombe as they boarded the team bus with videos appearing on social media. Micah Richards also spoke to supporters during the game to ease tensions while substitutes Brad Guzan and Joleon Lescott were accused of playing a game with chewing gum on the bench. And Garde – who is yet to win in 10 games as Villa boss – believes victory against Palace would be the best way to react. Chief executive Tom Fox and sporting director Hendrik Almstadt flew to America to hold talks with owner Randy Lerner on Monday over Villa’s transfer plans. Villa host Crystal Palace on Tuesday rock bottom of the Barclays Premier League and while Garde hopes to be given financial backing he also wants the discussions to help the club overall.
In a final tune-up before the start of the Pac-10 conference slate of matches, the No. 5 USC men’s tennis team hosts No. 63 San Diego State today at 3:30 p.m.Tune up · Sophomore Steve Johnson and the Trojans will use their dual meet against San Diego State to prepare for upcoming Pac-10 play. – Gary Fung | Daily Trojan With two matches at California and Stanford this upcoming weekend, the Trojans (9-1, 0-0) hope to continue gaining experience and confidence against the Aztecs before the all-important conference season commences.Coming home after four matches away from Marks Tennis Stadium will allow USC another opportunity to display consistency throughout the lineup against a team that has played better than its record indicates.Last Saturday, San Diego State (1-5, 0-0) won the important doubles point against No. 6 UCLA in a match it eventually lost 5-2.For the Trojans — where doubles play remains a point of emphasis — the Aztecs demonstrated that they could test the Trojans’ doubles lineup. Although the Trojans have won the doubles point in nine of their 10 matches, the team continues to search for the best lineup combinations and steady contributions from all three spots.SDSU marked its first match victory of the season against UC Santa Barbara last Sunday. UCSB is the same team that played well against USC in the second match of the season, which USC won 4-3.Although the Aztecs do not have any players ranked in singles or in doubles, their performance last weekend demonstrated they are improving as a squad.Aztec No. 1 singles player Achim Ceban defeated UCSB’s Philip Therp in straight sets during SDSU’s 4-2 victory.Doubles were not contested in the dual meet after SDSU clinched the victory with strong singles play.USC’s recent road performance proved to be a positive lesson for the squad heading into this match.“I loved playing on the road,” USC coach Peter Smith said. “I was very impressed how we handled the stress of Pepperdine.”USC did not return from the road matches unscathed — losing to No. 4 Texas — but finished strong with quality wins against UCLA and Pepperdine.The lessons from the trip will be crucial when conference play begins, as the Trojans start tackling the first of their main goals this year — winning the Pac-10 conference title.With all of the challenges on the upcoming schedule, SDSU is not a team that can be overlooked.The Trojans do not plan on having a letdown against the Aztecs, as they still feel they have aspects to improve upon themselves.“We weren’t perfect, and that’s what we will keep working for,” Smith said.