Villa boss Lambert issues Benteke challenge

Christian Benteke deserved to be dropped for his poor form and must work hard to get back in the team, says Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert.

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert has challenged striker Christian Benteke to knuckle down and win back his place in the starting XI.

The Belgium international has endured a poor season in front of goal, scoring just twice in 15 Premier League appearances.

Benteke's sticky patch was a key reason for Villa enduring the fourth longest goal drought in Premier League history, Jores Okore's header in Saturday's 2-1 defeat to Chelsea ending a 659-minute wait for a goal.

Lambert refused to lay the blame solely at Benteke's feet, but the Scot conceded stated his form has not been good enough and explained that it was an easy decision to drop him to the bench against Chelsea.

"It wasn't a hard decision to leave Christian out," Lambert said.

"His form has dipped and that's by his own admission.

"I expect him to take it like any other player and fight to get back in the side.

"We shouldn't put everything on Christian though - it's not his sole responsibility to score, but his overall form wasn't up to the standard he can produce."

Villa have failed to win their past nine Premier League matches and will look to end their wait for three points at Hull City on Tuesday.