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Lambert patient with Benteke

Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert admits that injuries have held back striker Christian Benteke from hitting the heights of last season.

Last Updated: 21/12/13 at 14:54 Post Comment

Christian Benteke: The striker has struggled with injuries this season

Christian Benteke: The striker has struggled with injuries this season

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The 23-year-old made a big impression in his debut campaign at Villa Park, bagging 19 Premier League goals, although he has only managed to find the net on four occasions so far this term.

Benteke has not been on the score sheet since September's 2-1 defeat at home to Newcastle and Lambert acknowledges that a hip injury has resulted in a dip in the striker's performances.

"He is having a hard time, but he's still carrying a few knocks," he told the Daily Star.

"He's got a little minor thing that's hindering him a bit.

"The injury was his first one in football, believe it or not. If he can handle it, I'm not so sure, but it's not that he's not trying."

The Belgium international has now gone 10 league games without finding the net, but Lambert is optimistic that the goals will eventually return.

"Maybe it's a little bit of a lack of confidence when things aren't going your way," he said.

"He set himself such a high standard last year that the little knocks he's carrying aren't helping him. It's my job to rectify that.

"He's not in so much pain that he says, 'I can't do this'. It's not that, it's little things that are hindering the movement he has.

"He just needs one to go in. He's definitely not shrunk, but the confidence thing is major. If you're confident, you'll do things off the cuff without thinking about it. Maybe he's thinking too much."

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terling needs to be told though that upon entering the Arsenal squad he will re-enact the final scene from Highlander where he will be thrown around a warehouse by cartoon dragons and then be a mere mortal that will only ever spend three to four weeks a season playing football and the rest on the physio's bed. There can be only one.....player available at The Emirates.

rodger's gusset
Arsenal interest in Sterling

T

he game changed in our favour when Carrick came on. We were able to play further up the pitch due to having a player who can give and go with the ball and keep possession. Yet barkley made some runs and Townsend scored a good goal but carrick's inclusion and chiellini's withdrawal made the biggest difference to the flow of the game

ricky villa
Hodgson: Barkley was brilliant

N

o, you've not silenced anyone Andros, i'm afraid. We know you can score a great goal, and it's really handy to have your direct running and willingness to shoot on the bench. But until you can do the other things expected of a winger (beat the man, put a decent cross in, stay wide etc) then you can't expect more than a regular cameo. Wonderful goal though, what a hit! No wonder Buffon wanted the shirt.

badwolf
Townsend: I've silenced critics

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