Monday media watch [23.12.13 PM]: Boss on Benteke fitness
Express and Star: Boss Paul Lambert today eased injury fears over Christian Benteke and insisted the striker will be back to his best. The hitman was rested for Saturday's 2-1 defeat at Stoke and is a serious doubt for Boxing Day's visit of Crystal Palace.
Sky Sports: Paul Lambert is confident a break from action will enable striker Christian Benteke to recapture the impressive form he displayed last season. The Aston Villa boss opted to leave the Belgian centre-forward out of his squad for Saturday's trip to the Britannia Stadium, where they endured a 2-1 defeat to Stoke City.
FourFourTwo: Paul Lambert has called for his Aston Villa side to replicate their performance against Stoke City on Saturday over the busy festive period. Villa slumped to a 2-1 loss at the Britannia Stadium that saw Stoke leapfrog Lambert's men in the Premier League table and make it three defeats on the spin. However, Lambert was satisfied with his team's display and expects to see more of the same from his players when Villa face Crystal Palace on Thursday before games against Swansea City and Sunderland.
Evening Herald: Andreas Weimann insists goalscoring is not a problem for Aston Villa as Christian Benteke's absence looks set to continue. The Belgian, who scored 23 goals last season, has not found the net for three months and was left out of the squad altogether by manager Paul Lambert for Saturday's 2-1 defeat by Stoke.
Croydon Advertiser: Barry Bannan says he is looking forward to going back to his old club on Boxing Day, adding that Villa will always hold a special place in his heart. The 24-year-old will go back to his old stomping ground with the Eagles, where he will come across a number of familiar faces and old friends from his nine years with the Midlands outfit.
Best Of The Rest
BBC Sport: Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini faces up to six weeks out following surgery on his wrist.
Sky Sports: Everton defender Leighton Baines is in line to make his first-team return against Sunderland on Boxing Day.
Sky Sports: Jose Mourinho believes stability is the key to a successful club and has declared that he would like to remain in charge of Chelsea for another 12 years.
*The extracts on this page are taken from various newspapers and media outlets. They do not necessarily reflect the views of Aston Villa.
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