Teke us to the top, Chris­tian

LAMBO TELLS STAR TO FIRE AGAIN

Midweek Sport - - SPORT - By IAN BAKER

PAUL LAM­BERT has told striker Chris­tian Ben­teke to for­get about this sum­mer and re­peat last sea­son’s hero­ics.

The Villa hit­man ham­mered 23 goals in his first sea­son in English football.

But the £25mil­lion-val­ued ace handed in a trans­fer re­quest ear­lier in the sum­mer be­fore with­draw­ing it last week and sign­ing a con­tract ex­ten­sion.

Lam­bert said: “He did it last year, now the big thing for Chris­tian is to go and do it again.

“He’s been ter­rific for us since he’s been here. He just needs a lit­tle bit more fit­ness work 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 at Wy­combe on Satur­day, even though he wasn’t there. They love him.

“He’s our player and hope­fully he has the same sea­son as he had last year.

Back­ing

“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.”

Lam­bert has saluted owner Randy Lerner and chief exec Paul Faulkner for back­ing him in the Ben­teke saga and trans­fer mar­ket.

He added: “Paul and Randy have been great – 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 who 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.

“We have got ev­ery­body in, which is good. It’s just a mat­ter of get­ting them play­ing the way you want.”

KNEESY PEASY: Ben­teke’s new deal is a ma­jor boost for Lam­bert

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