Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert blames nagging injury on Christian Benteke's form lapse.

Lambert suggested Benteke was struggling with the hangover from his hip flexor problem - and also a knee injury - picked up on international duty with Belgium against Colombia last month.

Lambert said: "Christian's having a hard time, but he's still carrying a few knocks. The injury was his first one in football. I'm not sure if he can handle it. These little problems aren't helping him. It's hurting him a bit, getting him down.

"I might need to take him out of the firing line. I need to get him 100 per cent. It's hindering his movement. It's not as if he isn't trying. This league is too powerful to go in and not give 100 per cent.

"The confidence thing is major. When you're confident, you'll do things without thinking about it. It's not that he's not trying."

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