Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert heaps praise on Benteke after Sunderland victory

The Scottish boss backed Martin O'Neill to turn things around at the Stadium of Light despite having earned a win to draw level with the Black Cats in the Premier League
Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert heaped praise on Christian Benteke after the Belgium striker played a key role in helping his side secure a 1-0 victory over Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.

The 21-year-old scored two goals against Swindon in midweek and provided an assist for Gabriel Agbonlahor's winner against the Black Cats as Villa won away from home for the first time since January.

Lambert labelled Benteke a "revelation" and backed him to go on to achieve big things in the Premier League.

"I think he could be anything he wants," he told reporters. "He's one hell of a player, top class, he's been playing extremely well and since he's come to this football club, he's been a revelation."

Villa's victory drew them level with Sunderland on points but Lambert backed Martin O'Neill to guide the Wearside outfit further clear of the relegation places.

"I thought we deserved it, I thought we were excellent today," he continued. "Sunderland threw everything at us.  Every team managed by their gaffer has got fight.

"He's got some top top players, they were always going to come at us but I thought we were excellent. It's a very tough job but if there's one person who can turn it around it will be him [O'Neill]."

Ashley Westwood made his first Premier League appearance for Villa in midfield in the win and Lambert singled out the former Crewe Alexandra player, along with Barry Bannan, for praise.

"He was outstanding for somebody who has come up the leagues from Crewe up to Aston Villa," he enthused. "I thought he was outstanding, he was comfortable with the ball and used it well. As did Barry Bannan - both were exceptional."