Don't call him the new Drogba: Lambert says it's unfair to compare Benteke to former Chelsea star
14:10 GMT, 21 December 2012
Paul Lambert believes it is unfair to label Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke as the new Didier Drogba but insists the Belgium international can have an outstanding career.
Benteke has been drawing comparisons with former Chelsea star Drogba with his physique and power and the way he tormented the Liverpool defence during last weekend's 3-1 win at Anfield.
The 22-year-old is already looking a bargain buy at 8 million from Genk during the latter stages of the summer transfer window.
A star is born: Christian Benteke has made a big impact at Villa since signing in the summer
Lambert, whose side visit Chelsea on Sunday, said: 'I can understand why people are comparing with Drogba with the size of the two guys – but Christian is his own man.
'It's unfair for me to turn around and say he's going to be the next Didier Drogba with the career he's had.
'Christian has only just turned 22. But the potential there is incredible, what he can achieve.
'He's been absolutely brilliant for me, not just as a footballer but as a guy he is really humble, which is important. He's been brilliant.'
Don't compare: Paul Lambert has asked for Benteke not to be compared with Didier Drogba
Lambert has a long-term vision for Villa and is adamant Benteke is part of that future admidst speculation he could become a target for the leading clubs during the January transfer window.
He said: 'There's no point in us even being here if it's a case of bringing people in and then letting them go.
'What's the point in that We're trying to build something here which can take a few years and you need good players with you to achieve that.
'There's no point in them coming for half a season or a year and then we let them go. That's not the right way.'
Not for sale: Paul Lambert says Benteke is not going anywhere in January
Benteke is developing a thriving partnership with Andreas Weimann who has started to realise his potential since being an extended run of games under Lambert.
The understanding was demonstrated via Weimann's sublime finish after Benteke's back heel for the second goal at Anfield.
Lambert said: 'Andi (Weimann) was here long before I came in. He's a natural finisher and has an incredible work-rate for the game of football.
'Provided he does not lose that, he can be a right good player.
'He's a totally different player to Christian, but he certainly knows where the goal is.
'We try to let them have the freedom to go and play and create.
'The second goal against Liverpool had great build-up and the finishing touch was the backheel from Benteke while the hardest part of the game is putting the ball in the net.'
In good form: Chelsea beat Leeds 5-1 in the Capital One Cup
Villa are unbeaten in their last five league games and also reached the semi-finals of the Capital One Cup.
Lambert still expects Chelsea to pose a formidable threat despite their hectic schedule and travelling back from the World Club Championship in Japan.
He also has immense respect for the Blues interim manager Rafael Benitez.
Lambert said: 'I hope the travelling affects them – but I don't think it will. They had a good result the other night against Leeds.
'The tiredness only comes in if you are not getting results, if you're winning nobody bothers.
'In terms of Rafa, you look at his managerial career and it is phenomenal.
'He's gone in there at a difficult time and tried to stabilise it and get results at the same time.
'You look at Chelsea's squad, and the players they've got, and there are some world-class players in there.'