Christian Benteke has been a regular for Crystal Palace this season, even if he hasn’t started every match under manager Patrick Vieira.
In fourteen Premier League appearances, the striker has scored four goals and will hope he can improve on last season’s total of 10 in the competition.
Benteke has faced competition for a starting place since signing for Crystal Palace in 2016 from Liverpool, and it’s something he largely takes in his stride. Speaking to Het Belang van Limburg, Benteke was asked about the differences he’s faced this season under Vieira and was his typical positive self when responding.
“We play more offensively. That is always better for a striker,” Benteke said when speaking to the Belgian newspaper. “The coach gives me confidence and I try not to shame that. We had a good conversation at the beginning of the season. He said he knows me from the Premier League. He knows what I can bring to the team and sees me as an important and experienced player. He counts on me a lot.”
The summer also saw Crystal Palace bring in more strength in attack, and Benteke was asked about the competition from Jean-Philippe Mateta and Odsonne Édouard: “So there’s nothing new under the sun. Since I’ve been at Palace, I’ve seen nothing but new attackers coming in. We are now five. That is also necessary. The matches follow each other in quick succession.”
Asked if he feels Crystal Palace having five forwards is overdoing things a little, Benteke was again positive: “You can speculate so much in the press, the reality is on the field. I’ve been with the club for five years and ten years in the Premier League. I have expertise and craft. And above all: I have specific qualities that other players don’t have. There is no reason to be afraid.”
Benteke has clearly been impressed by Vieira since the Frenchman’s arrival at the club, and when asked if he believes the manager rates, he responded: “I think so. He has charisma, but is also humble and respects every player from the core. You know he’s a world champion, but when you talk to him, he’s not arrogant. He really listens to what you say.”