Lambert issues Benteke goal challenge as Aston Villa look to avoid drop

Paul Lambert wants Christian Benteke to break the 20-goal barrier this season.

In a season consisting of mainly low points, the Belgian international striker has certainly been a plus for Aston Villa since his arrival from Genk in the summer. Benteke has been one of the stars of the campaign, with 12 goals in the Premier League and 16 in all competitions.

Without his contribution the Midlands club would doubtless be in even bigger danger than they currently are, although the 2-1 win at Reading on Saturday lifted them three points above the relegation zone. And if their star player can find another four goals in their remaining nine matches, then Lambert feels their top-flight status will be secured.

“If he gets 20 goals, then he’s doing something good for us,” said the Villa manager. “The big guy, over the course of the whole season, has been excellent for someone just 22 years of age. His performances have been exceptional. He has been massive to us.

“He also scores goals for a very talented Belgium side. For his age, he has played so many big games already, internationals, and it looks like Belgium will qualify for the World Cup. The lad knows big-time football but whatever you can do to help him, then you will speak to him.”

Next up for Benteke and co is a crucial relegation clash with bottom-placed Queens Park Rangers on Saturday. The Londoners will arrive at Villa Park on the back of successive wins, and another would see them close the gap to Lambert’s side to just a single point.


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