Remi Garde was said to have turned down the chance to manage Newcastle United as John Carver attempted to get the Magpies relegated.

The Frenchman was quoted at the time as saying that he had had discussions with Newcastle but that he couldn’t divulge the nature of them as it would be disrespectful to the club, though he did say that for personal reasons he wouldn’t be taking any managerial post until the summer at the earliest.

Now Remi Garde can’t wait to get to Newcastle United for Saturday’s match.

Taking over Aston Villa after Tim Sherwood had left a total mess, the Frenchman has a monumental task ahead of him.

With only six points from 16 matches the situation looks desperate, Villa currently eight points from safety and 10 behind Newcastle.

No doubt though Remi Garde will be looking at how both Newcastle and Bournemouth have plucked back to back wins from nowhere and against less than obvious opposition (Liverpool, Spurs, Chelsea, Man Utd).

Speaking ahead of Saturday, Remi Garde says that the upcoming matches are ‘must-win’ games, starting with Newcastle.

Actually the clash at St James Park is the pivotal one for the visitors with Remi Garde talking of a spark that would be delivered via a win, to enable them to then attack the following matches.

The fixtures computer has thrown up an interesting set of games for Villa, as after the Newcastle match they then have West Ham (H) 26 Dec, Norwich (A) 28 Dec and Sunderland (A) 2 Jan.

It looks clear that Aston Villa will come to Newcastle and throw everything at United, as after all Newcastle are one of only two clubs to have conceded more goals this season than the Villains.

Even though their team may not look it, Aston Villa had almost as much spent (over £46m) on the side as Newcastle did this summer.

Whatever happens on Saturday, I don’t think we are going to see a goalless match…

Remi Garde:

“Only work can help us in this situation. The spirit of the team is good. They do their best. A spark would be very good for us and that would come with a victory.

“For me now, it’s now about giving more confidence to the players and the group, individually and collectively.

“I knew the size of the challenge before coming and now we have games that we have to win against direct opponents.

“They are must-win games, the next few matches will be very, very important…crucial for us.

“We need a win to spark confidence and you saw times in the game against Arsenal where we had a lack of confidence. It was obvious and sometimes we are too fragile.”