Bullish Villa striker Benteke retains belief

Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke insists he has not been affected by recent criticism of his form.

The Belgium international ended a Premier League goal drought spanning almost four months when scoring in Monday's 2-1 defeat at the hands of leaders Arsenal.

Benteke has struggled to follow up a stunning first season in England's top flight, which saw him contribute 19 goals in 34 matches, but retains confidence in his ability.

In quotes reported by the Daily Telegraph, the 23-year-old said: "Criticism is part of football; it's part of life. It doesn't matter if people criticise.

"I just need to do my thing and do what I can do, and some days will be good and others will be bad.

"I am still developing my game. I am still young; I am still learning so I don't worry about what people say because I know if I work I will be better."

Benteke believes his goal against Arsenal could spark a strong run of form.

"The first season here, everything was good. It seemed like in every game I played I scored a goal, especially the second half of the season," he added.

"This season has been a bit harder for me, but it was nice to score against Arsenal and I can bring my confidence now for the team again.

"The fact I scored is very important for me and the team, that I can bring some more good moments. This is what drives me on."

Villa head to Anfield for Saturday's late kick-off to take on Liverpool, with Benteke having scored a superb double in the corresponding fixture last season.