Belfast Telegraph

Benteke won't relax in survival bid

Christian Benteke insists it is "risky" to consider Aston Villa safe and urged them not to relax ahead of the FA Cup semi-final.

The in-form striker is eyeing a Wembley win against Liverpool on Sunday when they face the Reds in the last four.

But he has told Villa they must secure Barclays Premier League survival as well with five games left.

Benteke scored the winner in Saturday's 1-0 victory at Tottenham which lifted Villa six points above the relegation zone.

It was his eighth goal in eight games under Tim Sherwood but the hitman warned Villa they need more than one more win to survive.

He said: "The more the better, I think it's risky to say we can take three points and we're finished. We have to try to win every game.

"Saturday was a massive three points because now we're six points clear of QPR so it's very important for us to be far off them."

The Belgium international missed last summer's World Cup after rupturing his Achilles a year ago and only returned in October.

And, ahead of Sunday's clash, the 24-year-old admitted playing at Wembley will be the biggest game of his career.

"For the moment, yes," he said. "It (missing the World Cup) was hard but now it's in the past, I'm looking forward to playing the semi-final.

"Liverpool are a good team but the thing with the FA Cup is it's still something special. It's 50-50 for me but some will say they are favourites.

"Wembley is something good and special because it's a semi-final, it's close to the final and we have to do everything to be there again."

He is likely to be partnered by Gabriel Agbonlahor up front, with Sherwood preferring to pair the duo together, and Benteke is enjoying playing with Agbonlahor.

He said: "He said to the team we have to play to our strengths, to play with me and Gabby.

"He helped me to destroy the defenders, with two we're always better than one. I'm comfortable, it's a good partnership."


From Belfast Telegraph