Aston Villa’s ‘Monster’ Christian Benteke does not strike fear into Norwich City’s Sebastien Bassong

Norwich City defender Sebastien Bassong is ready for anything that Villa and Christian Benteke can t

Norwich City defender Sebastien Bassong is ready for anything that Villa and Christian Benteke can throw at them. - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Sebsatien Bassong is not a man who suffers from an inferiority complex. The prospect of facing Aston Villa's fearsome striker Christian Benteke is all in a day's work for the cultured Canaries' defender.

Benteke has been a goalscoring revelation for the Midlands' side but Bassong relishes the weekly challenge of attempting to impose his will on some of the world's best striking talent.

'If you're going to be a good defender you're going to have to play against all types of strikers,' he said. 'Benteke is big but he's good with his feet. Someone like (Luis) Suarez is shorter but he is quicker.

'They all have different strengths and I have to adapt myself. He is a good player. There are a lot of good players in the Premier League and week in, week out and we play against one or two great strikers, so Benteke is another one we have to deal with. 'His weaknesses? I don't know. Honestly, I'm not going to think just about Benteke. I think he is a good player who has scored loads of goals – good for him, good for his team. But we have good players ourselves so it is going to be a tough game and we'll see what is going to happen.'

Bassong's initial impact on the English game was just as impressive as the man he will attempt to subdue today. One eye-catching debut season at Newcastle triggered an £8m move to Tottenham, where he struggled to establish himself as a first team regular at White Hart Lane. Benteke would do well to heed the implicit warning.

'I'm not saying it will be more difficult for him (next season) because the first season is not always the easiest one,' said Bassong. 'I heard about him before he came to England but I really got to know him when he started playing over here and he is a good player.

'It's the same for us. We were in the Premier League last year when not so many people knew Norwich. This season people get to know us more, so it's more difficult than the first.

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'I think it's going to be a tough game for both teams – not only for us – because we both need the win. The pressure is good sometimes because it puts us on the spot – we have to win this game to get the points to stay up. So it will be a tough game and a good game,' added Bassong, who will most likely be partnered with Ryan Bennett due to Michael Turner's absence through injury.

Villa's six-goal salvo to sink Sunderland earlier this week was in stark contrast to City's bruising defeat at Stoke, but Bassong cautions about drawing the wrong conclusions.

'They're on form, they won the last game, but I don't really focus on them. I'm more focused on ourselves and that's what we have to do,' he said.

'I think the win gave them a lift. They scored a lot of goals on Monday so they will come here full of confidence. That's something we've got to expect if they had won.

'At this stage of the season everyone wants to be safe, so even if they had lost on Monday, they would have come here with a lot of determination. It was going to be a tough game anyway. For us, you know what to expect when you play someone like Stoke. You have to change the way you defend a little bit because they are playing direct football. It's tough but at the same time it's not the toughest game. It's tough because they are lumping the ball forward so you have to battle a lot, but as a team, they are not running a lot. It's different, that threat, from Manchester United who are a team who will pop the ball around you.'

Bassong knows a win this afternoon would carry City through the psychologically key 40-point mark, which looked well within their grasp during that unbeaten club-record Premier League run before Christmas.

'Since the beginning of the season, we knew it was going to be tough for us,' he said. 'We've been working our socks off all season and if we aren't there now it's because we have a lack of something, but we have been working on it. It's been the consistency. As much as you want to improve, you have to be consistent and at some point we have to score and not concede goals – that's the basics of football.

'If we want to improve ourselves we've got to be more effective in the final third and in both ends of the pitch – our penalty box and their box. That's something we've been working on all season and I think day by day we're going to get better. We all know that Norwich are not the best team in the Premier League, so we all have something to improve and that's what we're doing and we're working hard every day.'

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