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Christian Benteke insists he will not crumble under the pressure of being Aston Villa's main hope of avoiding relegation to the Championship.

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Without the £7 million Belgian striker's 19 goals this season, it is likely that Villa would already be planning for life outside the Premier League rather than sitting three points above the relegation zone.

Benteke's first season in England since his move from Racing Genk has seen his form spark reported interest from Tottenham, Chelsea and Manchester City, but the striker said he was revelling in the responsibility of keeping Villa up.

"This is the best league in the world and it's normal that there will be pressure surrounding the games. If I was scared of pressure, I'd be playing ping-pong," Benteke said.

"When my father has spoken to me about my responsibilities as a person, he has always said: 'Be a man and be confident in yourself.' So this is how I am.

"We can't be satisfied to be where we are in the league, but we know we can do something about this. We believe in ourselves. We believe in each other, the manager believes and the fans are behind us.

"We are growing as a team, we know we have to do our job and we will. We're a good team. Sometimes we have been unlucky in games, but we are learning and growing together."

Benteke also believes he owes a debt of gratitude to manager Paul Lambert, who was the only manager prepared to pay that £7 million fee to bring him to England from Genk.

"I like to give my all and do my job and I have to give back to him for what he has given me," Benteke said.

"I was keen to come here because the manager was so keen to have me here. It's different when people want you.

"I think I have had a good start, and I am full of confidence. For everybody, for me and for the club and for the fans, I think it has been good."

Villa's survival instincts will be tested to the limit at Old Trafford on Monday as they look to postpone Sir Alex Ferguson's 20th title celebrations.


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