Christian Benteke is prolific, says Aston Villa boss Tim Sherwood

Christian Benteke
Christian Benteke has scored 39 goals in 77 Premier League starts for Aston Villa

Aston Villa boss Tim Sherwood called Christian Benteke "prolific" and a forward playing "with the shackles off" after his winner at Tottenham.

Benteke, 24, followed up a hat-trick against QPR with a powerful header as Villa beat Sherwood's old club to move six points clear of trouble.

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Sherwood on 'fantastic' win for Villa

Sherwood said: "Benteke is prolific. Give him a chance and he will score.

"His responsibility is to hurt the other team and score goals - he's doing that. The shackles are off."

Benteke scored 24 times for Villa in his debut campaign two seasons ago, but managed just 11 last year in a season hampered by injury.

He had scored just twice in this season's Premier League before Sherwood took charge in February - but has now hit eight goals in his last six league games.

Match of the Day's Danny Murphy on Benteke
"Benteke was just unplayable against Spurs, he gave Federico Fazio and Eric Dier such a tough time in the air, but also made all the right decisions with the ball at his feet. He had more touches than any other Aston Villa player today. That is highly unusual for a striker, but it reflects the way that this team is set up to bring the best out of him."

Sherwood said: "When I came in Villa had scored 12 goals in 25 games. That's extraordinary for the strike force we have.

"But I didn't blame them. I watched a lot of footage back and the team wasn't creating chances. If you create chances for them they'll score.

"Now we are playing it to Benteke a lot earlier, and Gabriel Agbonlahor. Keeping them in the game is key.

"It stretches the opposition and we saw that, the Tottenham defence could not settle."

Villa have collected 10 points from eight league games under Sherwood and face Liverpool in next Sunday's FA Cup semi-final.

As It Stood

3Man Utd31188555282762
4Man City31187663303361
9West Ham321110114240243
11Crystal Palace32119124243-142
14West Brom3289153046-1633
15Aston Villa3388172445-2132
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