Aston Villa manager Remi Garde: It's my duty to work on next season
Aston Villa boss Remi Garde is planning for next season, despite refusing to commit his future to the club.
The Frenchman has remained coy over his plans, having won just three games in 21 matches since taking charge in November.
Villa are rock bottom of the Barclays Premier League ahead of Sunday's visit of title-chasing Tottenham.
But, despite the uncertainty surrounding his position, Garde is laying the groundwork for next term - with Villa expected to be in the Sky Bet Championship.
He said: "I'm not talking about (my future) but it's part of the the job and my duty to work on next season as well."
Garde signed a three-and-a-half-year deal after he replaced Tim Sherwood five months ago but has consistently said he will review his position at the end of the season.
He has already warned any players expecting to jump ship in the summer they are unlikely to be allowed to leave easily, although he understands their ambition.
The 49-year-old said: "It's not always bad to have personal perspective and motivation that 'I want to grow in this football club and play for a bigger one'. As long as it's in the rules of squad, it's good to be well motivated."
Villa are nine points from safety with nine games left having lost their last four matches, including a 6-0 rout against Liverpool - their worst home defeat for 81 years.
They have conceded 15 goals during their recent poor run but Garde, who has the same squad which lost 4-0 at Manchester City last week at his disposal, believes Villa can turn the tide and shock second-placed Spurs.
"I'm thinking in 90 minutes everything is possible when you are putting all the passion and commitment you can on the field," he said.
"In a 90-minutes game you could close the gap by your attitude and commitment."
Garde is expected to go into the game with the same squad which lost 4-0 at Manchester City.
Carlos Sanchez (hamstring), Jack Grealish and Libor Kozak (both ankle) are all still sidelined while Charles N'Zogbia remains out of Garde's plans despite being fit.
Jordan Amavi is out until next season with a serious knee injury while Adama Traore (broken foot) is closing in on a return but is not ready yet.
Meanwhile, Mauricio Pochettino insists the pressure of leading Tottenham's title charge is nothing compared to when he was first appointed head coach.
Spurs take on struggling Villa, desperate to get back to winning ways. They managed only a point from two London derbies against West Ham and Arsenal last week before being thrashed 3-0 by Borussia Dortmund on Thursday in the Europa League.
It means Pochettino's men are without a victory in three matches and they can ill-afford to let that run continue, with league leaders Leicester already five points clear at the top of the table.
The Tottenham boss, however, believes the team's recent dip pales in comparison to when he first took over in 2014, as Spurs dropped to 14th after losing five of their opening 12 matches.
"Is the Aston Villa game now crucial? Crucial was last season when we were 14th in November," Pochettino said.
"We have been in a good run. There is no doubt about the team. Sometimes you expect you cannot perform always the same. Football is difficult.
"I am happy with team and now we need to lift the players because it was a big hit for us (against Dortmund).
"We need to finish strongly. If not maybe we have a problem but always you try to fight. The whole season has been good."
Villa are rooted to the bottom of the table and nine points adrift of safety, having lost five of their last six matches.
Spurs are confident Dele Alli can overcome a niggling ankle problem to be available while Eric Dier will face a late fitness test on a knock to his ankle.
Both players, along with Danny Rose, who is nursing a sore calf, were spared the trip to Germany in midweek, with Pochettino instead choosing to field a weakened side against Dortmund.
"I think we need to show respect to Aston Villa, we are wrong if we do not," Pochettino said.
"The players are not machines. We come from a very busy period and we play a lot in different circumstances.
"They are a proud team and if they have a chance to survive in the Premier League, Sunday is important. We need to put this idea in the mind of the players."