Thursday 18 January 2018

Eddie Howe unimpressed by Declan Rudd challenge on record signing Benik Afobe

Benik Afobe was fortunate to avoid a serious injury, Eddie Howe has claimed
Benik Afobe was fortunate to avoid a serious injury, Eddie Howe has claimed

Bournemouth's record signing Benik Afobe was fortunate to escape a serious injury following a high tackle by Norwich goalkeeper Declan Rudd, Eddie Howe has claimed.

The Cherries secured the biggest victory of their short Barclays Premier League tenure with a 3-0 victory against Norwich at the Vitality Stadium on Saturday.

And Afobe, who joined Bournemouth for a reported £11million fee from Wolves earlier this month, was among the goalscorers after he opened his account with 15 minutes remaining.

But Howe claimed the 22-year-old was lucky to still be on the pitch after he was scythed down by Rudd in the first half.

"For me, it was a definite red card on their goalkeeper," said Howe after Rudd was only booked by referee Robert Madley.

"While you could argue that he may not have denied a clear goalscoring opportunity, the challenge was high and it caught Benik in a dangerous place.

"He is very lucky not to have picked up a serious injury, and I don't see why the goalkeeper should be exempt from red cards for those challenges.

"In fact it is even more dangerous because of the speed he came out, and the speed Benik was attacking him. I think Benik is lucky."

Bournemouth, winless in four league matches heading into Saturday's fixture, took the lead after just 10 minutes when Dan Gosling headed home Marc Pugh's cross.

The Cherries, who have now scored seven of their 26 Premier League goals inside the opening 15 minutes - more than any other team in England's top flight - doubled their advantage shortly after the interval with Charlie Daniels scoring from the penalty spot.

And Afobe, who made his debut in the 3-1 defeat against West Ham here on Tuesday, completed a fine afternoon for the south coast outfit when he turned home Daniels' cross.

"When you join a new club it goes without saying that you want to set a good impression and he has done that," Howe added. "As a striker you want to score - you want to get that monkey off your back - and thankfully he has.

"It is not just doing it, but in the manner that he did it. It was a great finish, a great ball in from Charlie Daniels, who did superbly down the left, and that is a good sign for us. We do create chances and one of our Achilles heel this season has not been taking them."

The victory takes Bournemouth one point and one place above rivals Norwich into 15th in the table.

"It was not a good afternoon for us," said Alex Neil. "We did not perform well enough and Bournemouth deserved their win.

"We certainly did not do ourselves anywhere near justice in comparison to what we have been doing in recent weeks."

Neil, whose side ran out 3-1 winners against Bournemouth back in September, added: "We had too may players under par. There players performed better than us on the day, and this is the same team that we beat comfortably start of the season. It was roles-reversed today."

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