Belfast Telegraph

Benteke targets return to form

Christian Benteke insists he is ready to show he can return to the top and move on from his World Cup heartbreak.

The Aston Villa striker scored just his fourth goal of the season with a last-minute penalty to beat West Brom 2-1 on Tuesday.

Benteke missed last year's World Cup with a ruptured Achilles and has struggled since returning as Villa battle relegation this term.

And the Belgium international wants to prove he can recapture the form which turned him into one of the Barclays Premier League's most feared strikers.

He said: "People have to remember that being injured was a bad time for me. I missed the World Cup. I wanted to show the world that I am a good player but that's gone now so I have to move on. Hopefully I will be scoring quite a few more goals now.

"Every game I look forward to more and more. I don't know why it hasn't gone so well for me. I haven't changed anything but people have to remember I had a bad injury and it has taken quite some time to get back from that.

"I was out for six months so I needed to get some games in to get back to my level. I'm not feeling any effects of the injury now."

Victory was Tim Sherwood's first win as Villa manager since he replaced Paul Lambert last month.

Benteke and Sherwood embraced on the pitch after the final whistle and he believes the ex-Tottenham boss can help revive his form like he did with Emmanuel Adebayor at White Hart Lane last season.

"I think the new manager understands my situation. I think he understands that I have to be given more chances and then maybe I will start scoring more goals," said the 24-year-old.

"I saw what he did with Adebayor and maybe it is a similar situation and I hope to do the same.

"He speaks with a lot of confidence. He's a very cool guy. I think, for us, he is the right manager.

"I am grateful to Paul Lambert for what he did for me. He brought me over here from Belgium and I had a successful time under him."

Ben Foster had brought down Matt Lowton for Benteke's penalty, after Saido Berahino looked to have rescued a point following Gabby Agbonlahor's opener.

And the England keeper issued an apology to the Baggies and their fans via Twitter after the game.

He wrote: "Sorry to let the lads and fans down tonight, I love you all."

Boss Tony Pulis believes they were unfortunate to lose after creating several chances in the second half.

He said: "If you have a look at the chances Craig Dawson should have scored from two yards out, then we got the goal from a corner and then from (James) Morrison's pass to Brown Ideye - if he had played it earlier Browny would have had a tap-in on the back post. They were most probably the three best chances of the second half.

"They had a shot from long range that again Ben has spilled but apart from that I can't remember then doing too much second half."


From Belfast Telegraph