Sherwood hails Benteke

Benteke’s superb hat-trick rescued a draw for hosts Villa, who twice came back from a goal down to grab a share of the spoils.

The striker’s free-kick with seven minutes to play completed a precious treble and secured a draw that moved hosts Villa three points above the relegation zone with six games of the season remaining, and the??Villa manager admits his side will need Benteke’s??goals in the run-in.

“Christian Benteke was very good. The second goal especially was excellent,” said Sherwood after??the Belgian striker took his tally to seven goals in five games.

“We need him between now and the end of the season, but it was disappointing to give away cheap, scruffy goals.

“It might be a very important point. Only time will tell, but we need to win games. I wouldn’t like to guess how many points we’re going to need. It is a point in the right direction though.”

With Tottenham and Manchester City to come before an FA Cup semi-final against Liverpool or Blackburn at Wembley, Sherwood expects the spirit to remain high heading into such a crucial period for the club.

“I couldn’t fault the performance,” he said. “There was fatigue in the second half and we dropped off, but you expect that.

“That back four trained for four days. They’ve been out for six weeks so it’s a big ask. Unfortunately we’ve got an injury crisis at this club and we’re having to patch players up so because they had to drop deep it gave our midfield a lot to do, but they seemed to take every chance they had and that’s the way it’s going for us.

“Overall, on the balance of play, it was a disappointing result.”