Lambert: No Keane bust-up

As Lambert celebrated Aston Villa’s first win in 10 games at fellow strugglers Crystal Palace, he was forced to field questions on what prompted Keane to walk out on the club.

Speculation had emerged that Keane had been embroiled in a number of rows with various Villa players on the training ground, but Lambert insisted his No 2 had quit to focus fully on his role as Martin O’Neill’s assistant with the Republic of Ireland.

After Christian Benteke’s first goal in nine months earned a priceless three points at Selhurst Park which propelled Villa to 12th in the Premier League, Lambert was quick to put the record straight over the Keane rumours.

“If anyone wants to know about Roy, I’ll put it on your plate so you know: there’s absolutely no problem whatsoever,” said Lambert.

“He’s got a lot of commitments with Ireland, he’s never had a break from going away with Ireland, and never had a break from Aston Villa. So I totally respect his decision.

“Contrary to reports, there was absolutely nothing, absolutely no bust-up, no??arguing, nothing like that.

“I thank him for his time coming to work for me.

“I spoke to him before the Burnley game, after the Burnley game, and we still??have the same relationship. So I just want to put that to bed, alright?”

Lambert was understandably keen to savour his side’s first victory since their 1-0 win at Liverpool on September 13, adding: “It’s a massive four points in the last two away games,??and we’re four games unbeaten.

“Two young centre-halves having played well, Benteke back in with a goal and I??thought Alan Hutton was fantastic.”

Magnitude

The Scot also paid tribute to Benteke, who was making only his fifth appearance of the season after missing the opening three months of the campaign while recovering from a ruptured Achilles tendon.

Benteke returned to the starting line-up following a three-game suspension for his reckless dismissal against Tottenham, and his 30th goal in 60 Premier League games in the 32nd minute handed Palace their fifth defeat in eight matches.

“He’s missed half the year, so that’s the magnitude of it,” Lambert said of Benteke’s scoring record. “I’m delighted for him. It was a great goal from Christian today.

“The suspension never helped his case, but that was a fantastic return.”

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