Aston Villa star Benteke looking to repay Lambert's faith

The 22-year-old says the manager's enthusiasm during transfer negotiations persuaded him to join, while he admitted the team are disappointed to be fighting against relegation
Christian Benteke has insisted he owes Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert a debt of gratitude for giving him the chance to succeed in the Premier League.

The Belgium forward has been a revelation since joining from Genk for £7 million in the summer - netting 19 goals in all competitions - and has since been linked with moves to a number of big-name clubs.

But, the 22-year-old has hinted he is happy to stay at Villa Park, where he is wanted by the manager and the fans after a remarkable debut season in England.

9/1 Christian Benteke is 9/1 with William Hill to opening the scoring in Man Utd v Aston Villa
"I like to give my all and do my job, and I have to give back to [Lambert] for what he has given me," he told the Birmingham Mail. "I was keen to come here because the manager was so keen to have me here. It’s different when people want you.

"If you come for yourself it’s difficult, so it’s better when someone wants you. Since I was young it was my dream to come here and to play in the Premier League. I think I have had a good start and I am full of confidence. For everybody, for me and for the club and for the fans, I think it has been good.”

With five games remaining this season, the Villans sit just one place and three points above the relegation zone as the battle for survival looks to run to the final day.

Benteke is relishing the pressure that comes with the dogfight, though, while he insisted the young squad are growing and learning all the time.

"This is the best league in the world and it’s normal that there will be pressure surrounding the games," he added. "If I was scared of pressure, I’d be playing ping-pong!

"We can’t be satisfied to be where we are in the league but we know we can do something about this. We believe in ourselves, we believe in each other, the manager believes and the fans are behind us.

"We are growing as a team, we know we have to do our job and we will. Sometimes we have been unlucky in games but we are learning and growing together and it will take time with this team.

"Sometimes we play well but we have not won the game. This happens. Sometimes you have to win the game when you don’t play well but you learn this."