'Exceptional' Christian Benteke giving Villa the scent of survival after Everton draw

Everton 3 Aston Villa 3

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The Independent Football

The Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert called Christian Benteke "exceptional", after his two goals took his league tally into double figures after the 3-3 draw at Everton on Saturday.

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"He's only 22, just turned 22. For someone who has just come into British football he's been exceptional," Lambert said.

"I probably got criticised for signing him because he wasn't a name, no one had heard of him, people thought 'What's Aston Villa doing signing him?' I'm pretty sure he's put that to bed. The frustrating thing is we didn't win having scored three goals, but if we play like that, we will win more games than not."

From 3-1 down, Everton snatched the draw with a Marouane Fellaini equaliser three minutes into injury time. Victor Anichebe, scorer of Everton's first goal, believes he has learned greatly from fellow forward Nikica Jelavic, the scorer of 18 goals in 45 appearances at the club. But Anichebe sees no irony in the fact he has replaced the Croatian.

Anichebe was preferred to Jelavic for the second successive match, but he believes that is only temporary and it is more important that everyone plays their part as Everton bid to qualify for the Champions League.

"I wouldn't look too far into him not playing," Anichebe said. "Nikica has been unbelievable since he came to us and his record speaks for itself. I was injured for two months and he took the burden on his own and he has been playing on his own every game.

"There comes a time when you have to take him out because he is pretty tired, but the best of him will come.

"He has been playing for a long time on his own. Now I am back it is probably good time to give him a rest.

"I talk to him all the time and some of the positions I am getting into is because of him, he has helped me get into more goalscoring positions."

Moyes believes Anichebe's form is down to improved self-belief. "I think there have been a lot of times when Victor has been questioned and maybe even our faith in him at times," he said. "But I hope he has seen we always believed there was a really good player in there if we could get it out of him."

Match facts

Goals: Everton Anichebe 21, Fellaini 69, 90+3. Aston Villa Benteke 2, 61, Agbonlahor 24. Substitutions: Everton Oviedo 6 (Heitinga, 65), Jelavic 6 (Mirallas, 65), Naismith (Gibson, 91). Aston Villa Sylla (N'Zogbia, 79), Holman (El Ahmadi, 83), Baker (Agbonlahor, 92). Bookings: Everton Osman. Aston Villa Benteke, Lowton, Agbonlahor, Sylla.

Man of the match Benteke. Match rating 8/10. Possession: Everton 68%. Aston Villa 32%.

Attempts on target: Everton 8. Aston Villa 3. Referee M Jones (Cheshire). Att 38,121.