Lambert: Bent's a natural finisher
Paul Lambert believes no individual player is bigger than the club
Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert insisted striker Darren Bent had "nothing to prove to anyone" after leaving him out of his starting XI for Sunday's 1-1 home draw with West Brom.
Bent came off the bench midway through the second period to earn his side a point after Shane Long had given the Baggies a 51st-minute lead. Bent admitted to being disappointed at his exclusion from the side after scoring in the previous Barclays Premier League game at Southampton.
However, Lambert said: "I don't think Darren has anything to prove to anyone, least of all myself, because he is a natural finisher. It is not about losing his place. I decided to change it and the response was brilliant. I just picked a team I thought would win the game but it's about everybody."
He added: "It's not just about 18 lads - it's about a 25-man squad. It's about the team. You might get a bit of individual brilliance but it's a team. I don't value anyone any higher than anyone else."
Bent's exclusion was the second major selection decision Lambert has made after dropping number one goalkeeper Shay Given in favour of Brad Guzan.
But nothing will deflect the former Norwich boss from his goal of restoring Villa as a major force after two years in the doldrums since the end of the Martin O'Neill era.
He believes the positive response of supporters will give him breathing space during what is a transitional period after a host of summer signings.
Lambert said: "This football club has been hurt for the past few years and we've come in to try to rectify things really quickly. I always gauge things by the crowd and I can really sense the supporters want us to do well.
"The lads are only young and they will make mistakes like everyone else but the crowd are right behind us. We are slowly and surely getting there.
"I am not long in the door here - but we are doing everything we can to make the club a success. We can only do our best. The lads have been absolutely brilliant for me. I have nothing but pride in them."