sport

Benteke out to be a force

Christian Benteke insists he has proven that he is no one-season wonder after hitting double figures to drag Aston Villa into the relative safety of mid-table.

The Belgium international bagged an impressive 19 top-flight goals in his debut season for the Villans after signing in a 7.5million deal from Genk.

But the 23-year-old went 12 games without a goal after suffering from a loss of form and niggling injuries before replicating the kind of performances he showed last campaign.

He took his tally to 10 Premier League goals with a double in the 4-1 victory over Norwich in their last home match and now Benteke is aiming to end the season on a high.

"I knew my second season would be hard, because now people know me and they wait for me," the 23-year-old said in The Mirror.

"Last season I stayed injury-free and I was able with the help of my team-mates to perform to a high level for most of the season. Now I have to confirm that what I showed last season I can maintain and even improve upon.

"It's been difficult at times because it's been up and down with my injuries, but this is not an excuse.

"It was quite hard when I had not scored for a few weeks, it's a feeling of frustration. Confidence comes from scoring goals and that confidence then runs through the team.

"The most important thing though is to be able to contribute to the team, which I always try to do. But when you score and win, for any striker this is the best feeling.

"I am happy with what I am doing now because I scored nine goals with nine games to go. I know I can score again. But first I always think about the team, because if I think about the team I will be successful."