Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert denies rift with Darren Bent

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert has denied he has any problem with Darren Bent, despite dropping the striker for the 1-1 draw with West Brom.

Bent started the game on the bench, but came on to equalise Shane Long's goal.

"I just thought for this given game this was the right team," Lambert said. "I need everybody, the whole 26 lads, to perform."

Bent, who had started all of Villa's previous Premier League games this season, got his 150th league goal.

Bent's value to Aston Villa

  • Villa had 21 shots against West Brom, but only three were on target.
  • Darren Bent scored with only his third touch after coming on a substitute.

He started the season as Villa skipper, but was replaced by Ron Vlaar  before the game against Swansea on 15 September.

But Lambert denied any rift with the England international.

"I don't think Darren Bent has got anything to prove to me or the outside world, everybody knows he's a proven goalscorer," said Lambert.

The 28-year-old forward admitted it "had been a difficult couple of weeks, losing the captaincy first off then finding out I wasn't playing today".

He added: "Obviously it would have been nice to play from the start but I managed to score the goal to get a point.

"The start of the season's been up and down. Today we showed signs we are heading in the right direction and we've all got faith in the manager."

Villa have won only once in the league this season, but beat Manchester City in the Capital One Cup on Wednesday.

Lambert, who named eight of the that team against West Brom, said he was content with a point.

"Today was a big point for us," he said. "It's easy to let your heads go down when you go a goal down in a derby game, but I have to give the team so much credit for bouncing back.

"I thought we were unlucky not go into half-time not winning anyway but sometimes if you can't win, make sure you don't lose it. Villa boss denies rift with Bent

"It's fairly difficult to dominate a game for 90 minutes but the crowd played their part and I've nothing but praise for the team. They were excellent."