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Lambert relaxed over Benteke

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert is determined to avoid a bust-up with Belgium coach Marc Wilmots over injured striker Christian Benteke.

Last Updated: 03/10/13 at 19:02 Post Comment

Christian Benteke: Suffered a hip injury against Norwich

Christian Benteke: Suffered a hip injury against Norwich

Wilmots controversially named Benteke in his squad for the forthcoming World Cup qualifiers against Croatia and Wales despite the forward being out of action with a hip injury.

Benteke is still believed to be weeks away from returning, but Wilmots has hinted he may press him into action if they need a result against Wales on 15 October to qualify for next summer's finals in Brazil.

But, when Lambert was asked if he was heading for a war of words with Wilmots, he said: "No, I've spoken to Marc anyway and the medical people are engaged in good dialogue so there's no problems at all.

"But he's not fit for us this weekend.

"Christian is doing really well with his rehabilitation and we just have to wait and see how he's feeling. I've spoken to him every day, as I do with everybody else, and he's doing okay."

Villa beat Manchester City 3-2 at home without Benteke last Saturday to defy critics who have labelled them a one-man team, but Lambert insists they have "nothing to prove".

"I knew we were up against one of the best teams in the country and that we had to play ever so well to try to get something from the game," he added.

"Against City they had everything that you want from a footballer: The fight, hunger, desire, togetherness. Everything that makes a strong team, we had in abundance.

"It wasn't a statement as such, it was just a group of lads who came together in that game. Yes, we had to run a lot without the ball at certain times but there aren't many teams who are going to have much of the ball against Manchester City.

"But to cause them the problems we did was really pleasing.

"It wasn't just Christian we lost for last week. There was Gabby Agbonlahor, Ashley Westwood and Jores Okore too. The four of them are doing well, even though Jores' cruciate injury will keep him out for a while.

"So it wasn't just Christian we missed, but the lads who came in were excellent for us."

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