Thursday 22 February 2018

Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe focused on the future after poor run of form

Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe wants his team to refocus for upcoming 'huge' matches in the Barclays Premier League
Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe wants his team to refocus for upcoming 'huge' matches in the Barclays Premier League

Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe has challenged his players to put their losing streak behind them and tackle the upcoming "huge" Barclays Premier League games head on.

The Cherries travel to Watford on Saturday on the back of three straight defeats, which saw them also beaten at home by Everton in the FA Cup last weekend.

Howe hopes a positive week on the training ground will help put things right at Vicarage Road, with many players fresh again for the battles ahead after he made changes for the cup tie.

"It is always a concern for us, because you never want to lose one game, let alone three," Howe said at a press conference.

"The key thing is not to over react when you look at those defeats game by game.

"We know we really have to focus on the future, that we have four huge games coming up for our season.

"I have shared that message with the players - it is all about the future for us now, there is no point looking back.

"We have had a good week's training and have had different players fresh and available to train the whole week, so we have built up well for this game."

Bournemouth may be four points clear of the drop zone in 15th place, but Howe knows the job is far from done as they prepare for a run of games which will see them face relegation rivals Newcastle and Swansea.

"Whatever cushion it is, it is not big enough, because those four points can turn into one in the blink of an eye," he said.

"From our perspective it is all about the next game and getting as many points as we can as quickly as we can because this league is so unpredictable."

Captain Tommy Elphick was one of several changes for the FA Cup tie, the defender performing well as he continues his return from a serious ankle injury.

Striker Lewis Grabban has been carrying a groin problem, so remains a doubt, while Howe revealed midfielder Ma x Gradel could soon be involved again as he steps up recovery from a long-term knee injury which has sidelined him since the end of August.

"There are decisions to make on Max Gradel, when we bring him back in," the Cherries boss said.

"He has worked really hard and has looked good. We haven't seen a great deal of him on the training ground, but the physios and doctors have been pleased with his progress."

Like Bournemouth, Watford won promotion from the Sky Bet Championship last season.

The Hornets have produced a solid return to the top flight under new boss Quique Sanchez Flores, with frontmen Odion Ighalo and Troy Deeney plundering 22 Premier League goals to guide them into ninth place.

Howe said: "Watford have done incredibly well this season and I have been very impressed by their front two.

"Th ey have carried on their form up into the Premier League and now have a good balance to their side, adding some quality.

"The manager has done a terrific job.

"He is going into the league for the first time, as are many of his players, and tactically he has been very good this season."

Press Association

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