Lambert defends dropping Bent
By Football News
Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert denied he held a grudge against Darren Bent after again leaving the striker out of his matchday squad.
Bent was omitted for last weekend's match against Arsenal and was left in the stands for his club's 1-0 win over Reading at Villa Park on Tuesday.
"Darren Bent just has to play well and train well," Lambert told reporters.
"He has a future, everybody has. I've got nothing against anybody in the club, I've got 25 lads to look after."
Lambert was also forced to hose down rumours suggesting Bent had stormed out of Villa Park after finding out he was not on the teamsheet.
"I just read the team out - there is nothing whatsoever in that," he said.
"I've got a football club to try to look after. I'm delighted for the team - we won the game."
Villa started with 21-year-old Belgian Christian Benteke up front alongside Andreas Weimann and Gabriel Agbonlahor, and Benteke scored the decisive goal 10 minutes from time when he rose above Sean Morrison to head in.
"He's done fantastic for me. He was up against a big lad. It was a fantastic header," Lambert said.
"Bent and Benteke can play together - they did against Southampton.
"I've got to pick a team I think will win."
It was Villa's third league win of the season and lifted them out of the relegation zone.
Meanwhile, Reading manager Brian McDermott felt his side, now second bottom, missed a chance to steal a win.
"We had a couple of good opportunities in the first half, and then Adam Le Fondre had a chance after the break," he said.
"It's an unforgiving league, we know that. We have to stick together. We all have to keep going as a group - all you can do is keep going. We don't feel we've had our rewards, but that'll come. It'll come our way."