Lambert challenges Benteke
Wed, 24 Jul 2013 09:26:00
Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert has challenged Christian Benteke to repeat last season's goalscoring heroics.
Benteke scored 19 Premier League goals for Villa last season and has now agreed a new deal with the West Midlands club after initially handing in a transfer request earlier this summer.
Lambert now hopes his star asset, who had a run-out against Luton on Tuesday, can concentrate on delivering another strong performance for the club in 2013/14.
"He did it last year. The big thing for Christian is to go and do it again," Lambert told the Birmingham Mail.
"He's been terrific for us since he's been here. Christian is totally fine. He just needs a little bit more fitness work probably and we'll see how he is.
"The news that he had signed a new contract gave everybody a lift. You heard the fans chanting his name (against Wycombe at the weekend) even though he wasn't there. The fans love him.
"He's our player and hopefully he has the same season as he had last year.
"He's been excellent for us and the main thing is for him to concentrate on Aston Villa and doing well, which I know 100 per cent he'll do."
The Belgium international was widely expected to move on from Villa Park given the player power of the modern game and Lambert is grateful to owner Randy Lerner and chief executive Paul Faulkner for their support in helping to keep the striker.
"Paul and Randy have been great - they really have," added Lambert. "With the Christian thing and the lads we've brought in.
"They've backed it all the way. It's a matter of us trying to get the right personnel and once it starts for real that's the time to start to judge us.
"The new lads that have come in still need a bit of time to settle. But that's why we've done it as early as we did to give them that feeling of what the British game's like. These lads are going to give it a right go.
"We've got everybody in which is good. It's just a matter of getting them altogether and getting them playing the way you want."