Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Aston Villa forward Christian Benteke heads home the winner against Reading
Aston Villa forward Christian Benteke heads home the winner against Reading

Aston Villa play down Bent row talk after 1-0 win over Reading

Paul Lambert denied Darren Bent had walked out of the club at half time after being dropped again as his side battled to only their third win of the season.

Paul Lambert defended his decision to exclude Aston Villa's record signing Darren Bent once again from his match day plans after his side gained a crucial 1-0 home win over Reading.

A late header from Christian Benteke, who has replaced Bent as the number one striker, moved Aston Villa out of the English Premier League relegation zone.

But the 18 million striker failed to feature even among the substitutes, with Lambert favouring rookie Jordan Bowery instead.

Lambert denied there was any fallout with Bent or that the striker had left the stadium before kick-off after his exclusion from his plans.

Lambert said: "Darren was in the squad, it was the same on Saturday. I just picked the same group. I do what think is best for Aston Villa.

"But honestly, I don't have a problem with Darren Bent and I do rate him as a player.

"I've no problem with his attitude in training, none whatsoever.

"Did he storm off? No, not a thing. I would tell you. I thought he was fine. I read the team out. The most important thing is Aston Villa.

"Will I listen to offers in January? Honestly my main concern is winning games for this club, nothing else.

"Can Bent play again for us Yes, never rule anything out. But I pick a team to win, I never pick one I think will lose."

The game between the two struggling sides looked to be heading towards stalemate, although Villa had offered the greater number of chances.

However, with 10 minutes left Benteke settled the issue, the Belgian forward rising about Reading's defence to head downwards past goalkeeper Adam Federichi.

The result was just the third win of the season for Aston Villa, who fielded eight players under the age of 23, and Lambert admitted afterwards it was a significant one.

"We knew the Arsenal game at the weekend would take a lot out of us," he said.

"Reading had also played well against Wigan so knew it would be a tough game.

"But I don't know about it being a six-pointer. Never look at things now, look in May."

Reading boss Brian McDermott was left to bemoan his side's defending when Benteke headed home an Ashley Westwood corner 10 minutes from time.

It was another late and crucial goal conceded by Reading, who lost 3-2 at Wigan.

He said: "I thought we were going to get a point. I knew the first goal was going to be crucial.

"I thought the shape of the team was good but to lose the goal from a set piece was disappointing.

"I thought we had solved the late goal problem.

"But it's not a six-pointer. It's a game of football and we've got a game of football to look forward to against Manchester United at the weekend."

sports@thenational.ae

twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 The seventh edition of the Indian Premier League Twenty20 tournament was kicking off at Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi on Wednesday with plenty of excitement in store. Ravindranath K / The National

In pictures: IPL 7 kicks off in Abu Dhabi

The first match in the seventh edition of the Indian Premier League Twenty20 tournament, between Mumbai Indians and Kolkata Knight Riders, was held at Zayed Cricket Stadium amid plenty of colour.

 Al Rayyan's Yakubu Ayegbeni, left, tries to escape the attention of Jazira's Khamis Ismail. Karim Jaafar / AFP Photo

Late strike qualifies Al Jazira for last 16 of Asian Champions League

A dramatic late goal gave Al Jazira a 3-2 victory at Al Rayyan of Qatar in the Asian Champions League (ACL) on Wednesday night and it was just enough to push Walter Zenga’s side into the knockout stages.

 Zayed Cricket Stadium had not witnessed so electrcic an atmosphere before Wednesday evening. Pawan Singh / The National

Packed house gathers in Abu Dhabi for Indian Premier League opener

In less than half a day, Zayed Cricket Stadium witnessed the force that is Indian cricket, with the sound drowning out the controversies that have dogged the Twenty20 tournament, writes Osman Samiuddin.

 Lionel Messi of Barcelona looks down after being defeated during the Copa del Rey Final between Real Madrid and FC Barcelona at Estadio Mestalla on April 16, 2014 in Valencia, Spain. David Ramos/Getty Images

Plenty of life still in Barcelona, says Gerardo Martino

Barcelona coach maintained his side can still return to their former glories after they were beaten 2-1 by a Gareth Bale-inspired Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey final.

 Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton, left, and Nico Rosberg at the official press conference following qualifying for the Australian Formula One Grand Prix at Albert Park on March 15, 2014 in Melbourne, Australia. Mark Thompson/Getty Images

F1: Toto Wolff says Mercedes have all the right ingredients in place

With Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg at the wheel, Mercedes have so far dominated the first three grands prix going into this weekend’s fourth round in China.

 Sunderland manager Gus Poyet, left, reacts as Manchester City's manager Manuel Pellegrini looks on during their English Premier League football match at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester on April 16, 2014. The match ended in a 2-2 draw. AFP PHOTO/Andrew YATES

Poyet says ‘I am sure that Luis Suarez is going to be happy’ after Sunderland draw at Manchester City

Sunderland’s survival chances remain slim because now they face Chelsea away at the weekend but manager Gus Poyet insists they are not trying to benefit Liverpool or his fellow Uruguayan, Luis Suarez.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National