Benteke prepared for extra pressure at Aston Villa

The Belgium international enjoyed a sparkling debut campaign in English football, netting 23 goals in all competitions, and is keen to improve even further in the new season
Christian Benteke is confident he is ready for the increased pressure he will face at Aston Villa and is hoping to improve even further in the new season.

Benteke netted 23 goals in all competitions in his first season in English football, and was heavily linked with a big-money move to Tottenham and Chelsea during the summer.

However, the Belgium international instead opted to sign a contract extension and remain at Villa Park, and he is keen to build on his goal tally from last season and help his side get off to a solid start.

He told the club’s official website: "I am very happy to score some goals already in pre-season. I feel good. I feel really good. I expect myself to do better than last season. When you score goals you get some really good confidence levels. They rise.

18/1 Christian Benteke is 18/1 with Paddy Power to be the Premier League's top scorer
"As a striker, a lot of people are waiting for me. The fans are waiting for me. So the pressure is going to be bigger around me but this is football and I accept that.

"I can take that. I am young. I am confident. This is part of football. You have to be able to handle this pressure. This is the life I have chosen so I am happy to take this on. I love it.

"Last season was a very good first season for me. I was happy with it. But now it's behind me. I have to look forward and try to do the same or even better.

"I am excited about the new season. I can't wait for it to start. I am looking forward to it. We have one more pre-season match left and then it's the start of the season.

"I think it's going to be a good preparation game against Malaga at home. Then we start the season against Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool. We have to be ready for that. But the preparation so far has been very good. We all feel good."

Villa boss Paul Lambert has built a squad packed full of young players and Benteke is confident the club can continue to improve following an impressive end to the 2012-13 season.

"The objective is to do better than last season,” he added. “We have quality in the team. We have to try to do better. That's our aim.”

"It was maybe a tough beginning last season but we finished well so why not do something good this season. We need to continue like that this season and build on that. I see it in training - everyone is happy and in a good mood. Everyone is excited. I hope we are going to do something good this season.

"I think this team is going to grow and learn all the time. We are a young team. But we can do something good. Our team is full of good players and good people too."