Paul Lambert wants Aston Villa players to share goal burden

Villa take on Liverpool this weekend

Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert is demanding goals from all areas of his team as he comes to terms with being without record signing Darren Bent for the festive programme.

Bent will be sidelined "for a few weeks" after suffering a hamstring injury during Villa's 4-1 midweek win at Norwich in the Capital One Cup.

Andreas Weimann came off the bench to effectively replace Bent with a two-goal blast at Carrow Road and is described by Lambert as "a natural finisher".

But Lambert knows the importance of players chipping in from all areas of the pitch as Villa look to improve on a tally of 12 goals in 16 Barclays Premier League matches at Liverpool tomorrow.

Lambert confirmed: "Darren went for a scan and has got a problem with a hamstring that will keep him out for a few weeks.

Asked if the striker would miss the Christmas programme, Lambert said: "Yes, probably the way it is looking. Maybe four weeks.

"It's a blow for him. In football you just never know when it might happen on the pitch. I saw him do it but we have just to get it healed."

Weimann, Christian Benteke and Gabriel Agbonlahor have shouldered the responsibility for the majority of Villa's goal output, although Brett Holman has netted twice in the last three games.

But Lambert said: "You are looking for goals all over the pitch. It's not just about Christian, Andreas and Gabby.

"You have got to spread it out if you can. The way we are playing we are certainly creating chances, which is the pleasing thing.

"You just hope the lads will be confident enough to go and take them."

Lambert believes his players are starting to receive the credit they deserve after a run of two defeats in the last 10 league and cup matches.

He said: "I think people think, because we are a young side, that we are not going to do this or that.

"They are getting the credit now they deserve because they are playing really well.

"Since the win at Sunderland we've been doing really well and I don't have a problem with performances.

"Yes, you'd like to have more points on the board, but the one thing I can't argue with is the effort and the way they are playing.

"Only the two Manchester clubs have beaten us during that run and that shows how well we are playing at the moment.

"There are a lot of young lads, a lot of enthusiasm and energy, and we are playing with freedom, which is great."

Brendan Rodgers believes it will take him three years to reestablish Liverpool as a major force and Lambert can see the parallels at Villa.

Lambert said: "I understand what Brendan is saying. It's not too dissimilar to that (at Villa). We're new to it and trying to build something and it does take time.

"But I think the fans recognise the job we have to do here.

"There will be ups and downs along the way but there were also be great nights as well.

"It's just about building that, and if you get the time to do it then hopefully it will take off."

Villa midfielder Ashley Westwood is available after being cup-tied for the triumph at Norwich and defenders Joe Bennett and Enda Stevens are also back in contention after recovering from knee and ankle injuries respectively and returning to training.

PA

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