MICAH RICHARDS has revealed the behind-the-scenes domino effect that causes a Premier League manager to be sacked.
The former full-back-turned-pundit played for Manchester City, Fiorentina and Aston Villa during his playing career.
His Villa spell proved to be disastrous as they were relegated from the Premier League during his first season.
Following a poor start to the campaign they sacked manager Tim Sherwood, opting to replace him with Frenchman Remi Garde.
Richards, 35, claims that Garde's training wasn't up to scratch and that he swiftly lost the faith of then-Villa stalwart Gabriel Agbonlahor.
Appearing on The Rest is Football alongside fellow regulars Gary Lineker and Alan Shearer, Richards said: "Once Gabby had gone, the rest of the dressing room was gone. Because he was the main person in that dressing room."
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Asked by Lineker if unhappy players would go the club CEO, Richards continued: "In Gabby's case he was one of the senior pros in the changing room along with myself and Joleon Lescott and we were all good mates.
"So then he would say to me 'I'm not having this manager', he put doubt in my mind.
"And Joleon, he's very diplomatic, would always say 'you might not like the manager but just do the best you can'.
"But we were going through a time where we weren't doing well. If you're going through a difficult time on the pitch in the dressing room it needs to be amazing.
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"You still need to look at your team-mates and think 'I can trust him, I'm going to go and give 100 per cent for my team-mate on the pitch'."
Explaining the ripple effect of a key man being turned against the manager, Richards added: "But as soon as that happened he would start speaking to the CEOs, he would start speaking to agents, agents would start leaking stuff to the press and say the manager doesn't know what he's doing, the level of football is not required for the Premier League, and that's how it starts.
"You've lost the player, and then you've lost the dressing room as well because the main couple of people in the dressing room are not happy."
Garde won just three of his 23 matches in charge of Aston Villa before being sacked in March 2016 just five months into a three-and-a-half-year deal.
Villa finished bottom of the Premier League with just 17 points, the fourth worst tally in the history of the competition.
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