Fulham v Villa: Lambert “laughing and joking” with Bent on eve of game
Bent has started on the bench against West Brom and Tottenham and Lambert will once again assess his options on the eve of the Craven Cottage clash.
But Lambert insists his relationship with Bent is solid.
He said: "I understand players get frustrated when they are left out, I understand that.
"I'd be more worried if they weren't frustrated at being left out.
"But I have a laugh and joke with him in the week like I do with every other player. There's never been a problem. I don't have a problem.
"He's not come knocking on my door. I was having a joke with him the other day.
"I have never had a problem with Darren not once. I don't rule with fear if that is what people think.
"I treat people the right way and respect them. I don't do anything untoward.
"I get on well with him. I've always said to him, just come and see me, you know where I am.
"The lads have been great and I don't have any issue with them contrary to what people might think."
Lambert is a firm advocate of the "team ethic" in his side but he's a firm admirer of Bent's striking selfishness in front of goal.
He continued: "I think any successful side has to be a team.
"But you have some individual brilliance. You wouldn't take Darren's selfishness away from him because he is a goalscorer and that's what he does best.
"My job is to pick a team that will win us a game. That is my job and that's what I try and do for this football club.
"It will be the same for everyone. I trust the lads to perform. That's the great thing I've got but I can't keep everyone happy all the time. It's a decision I'll make.
"Darren is a scorer, absolutely. Everyone knows when you put the ball in the box, he can finish. He can get in behind too. That's why Darren has had the career he's had."
Make sure you're here to back the boys against Norwich City.