Benteke: I can handle pressure
Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke has backed himself to better his performances of last season and insists he can handle the pressure.
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The Belgian was one of the stars of the Premier League last term despite Villa's struggles, scoring 23 goals in all competitions.
It looked like manager Paul Lambert would face a real battle to hold on to him this summer after he handed in a transfer request, but last month he retracted it and signed a new deal until 2017.
Benteke has already scored five goals in pre-season, and he told www.avfc.co.uk: "I feel good, I feel really good. I expect myself to do better than last season.
"As a striker, a lot of people are waiting for me. The fans are waiting for me. So the pressure is going to be bigger around me but this is football and I accept that.
"I can take that. I am young. I am confident. This is part of football. You have to be able to handle this pressure. This is the life I have chosen so I am happy to take this on. I love it."
Villa battled against relegation for much of the season and looked in serious trouble, but a strong finish helped them to 15th place, five points clear of the bottom three.
Benteke does not expect Villa to have similar struggles this campaign, adding: "The objective is to do better than last season.
"We have quality in the team. We have to try to do better. That's our aim.
"It was maybe a tough beginning last season but we finished well, so why not do something good this season."