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Monday, October 8, 2012
Lambert defends Bent decision

David Instone

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert insists he was correct in his decision to put record signing Darren Bent on the substitutes' bench for the second successive weekend.

• Bent bemused by Villa snub

Bent, 28, was first dropped to the bench in the 1-1 draw with West Bromwich Albion last weekend but his well-taken equaliser was not enough to earn him a starting place for the game at Tottenham on Sunday - with summer recruit Christian Benteke again preferred.

Benteke, 21, missed a glaring chance in the 2-0 defeat at White Hart Lane with the scores still level, while Bent was sent on too late to make an impact.

But Lambert has defended his selection stating it made sense to play Benteke as a lone target man and Gabby Agbonlahor out wide.

"It was the right one in my view," he said. "Darren is better with someone up beside him. He thrives on things going in behind. If you are playing with one up, Christian gives you a different option because he can get hold of it.

"You know Spurs' full-backs are going to bomb on at every given opportunity to give them width. That's the reason I did it. That was my thinking, get a target man up the pitch."

Bent has scored three goals this season, including one in the 4-1 defeat at Southampton, the last time he was in the starting line-up.

He was due to speak to Lambert about his omission last week, while the manager is eager to stress that there is no problem between the pair.

"Darren has been great," he said. "We have not had a crossed word.

"I would understand why he's frustrated at being left out. But he will play games, that's for sure. It's a team and I will need everybody.

"He was fine when I told him. I'm not going to make a mountain out of molehill. I know what was said. We had chances to score (against Spurs), so you can't be too critical."

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