Aston Villa coach Paul Lambert described Christian Benteke as “world-class” after the Belgian striker’s hat trick helped his team secure a vital 6-1 home win against Sunderland. Both relegation-threatened teams are now level on points in the Premier League table with 37, five ahead of 18th-place Wigan Athletic with three games left this season. Wigan, however, has four games left.
With Villa leading 2-1 at halftime, Benteke scored three goals in 17 minutes in the second half to secure the points for Lambert’s men. "He was world class,” Lambert said after the game. “He is only 22 years of age and only came into this country at 21. For his second goal he jumped virtually the height of the crossbar. Everyone can see his technique for a big lad is fabulous. He has a big career in front of him and can be anything he wants." Benteke now has 22 goals in all competitions in his first season in England.
Meanwhile, Sunderland coach Paolo Di Canio described his team’s performance as “unacceptable,” apologizing to Sunderland fans for the heavy defeat. "It's not acceptable, it's obvious there were two different teams on the field," Di Canio said. "One team, Aston Villa, with a ferocity, with desire, ambition and dedication, like it was the last chance of their life. In some ways, they looked like us in the last few weeks. It's obvious this can happen once in football but it's not acceptable. I know it probably can happen because [after] two wins in a row the stomach is a bit full; they gave everything the last two weeks but we can do much better. Sometimes when you eat a lot you relax or you sleep but you need more food to be alive and we need three more points minimum."