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Howe braced for challenge ahead


Eddie Howe led Bournemouth to the Premier League for the first time

Eddie Howe led Bournemouth to the Premier League for the first time

Eddie Howe led Bournemouth to the Premier League for the first time

Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe will begin plans to make the club competitive in the Barclays Premier League next season when he returns to work on Tuesday.

The south-coast club clinched the Sky Bet Championship title with a 3-0 final-day win at Charlton, a result which saw them finish one point clear of Watford.

It is a first-ever promotion to the top flight for the Cherries, and their 37-year-old manager is under no illusions as to how hard it will be to keep them there.

"We need to evolve. We need to get better, that would have been regardless of what division we were in," Howe told Sky Sports during Monday's triumphant open-top bus parade along the town's seafront.

"I think the challenge for us is to try and be competitive in a league where it's incredibly difficult as we've seen this year for promoted sides.

"Naturally, they will be at the bottom end of the league so we've got a big challenge ahead.

"We're trying not to think about that, I'm trying not to think about that until (Tuesday) when we restart work."

Bournemouth's rise is a classic football fairytale. The club narrowly avoided dropping out of the Football League six years ago and the season before that were perilously close to liquidation.

Howe, in his second spell in charge at the club following a two-season stint as manager of Burnley, said the manner in which the Cherries had taken the Championship by storm had been the most satisfying aspect of their success.

"The amazing thing from our perspective this year is not just the points we've got and winning the league, it's how we've done it as well," he said.

"I believe we play the hardest way, a very attractive style and the players have shown great bravery at times to achieve the things we have.

"To win the league was something we didn't expect on the last day. We just wanted to do our business and win the game that we needed to."

Howe guided Bournemouth to promotion to the Championship two seasons ago when Doncaster edged them to the title on the final day.

This time around it was Howe's side who snatched the crown from Watford, who were denied top spot by Sheffield Wednesday's late equaliser at Vicarage Road.

"For events to unfold as they did made it a very special day for us," Howe said.

"We had heartbreak in League One when we lost out on the last day when Doncaster pipped us to the title and that made it all the more sweeter to take the title this time.

" Given the team and the moment there's been an incredible reaction from everybody and unprecedented scenes for this football club.

"It's been an incredible achievement by everybody connected with the club. As always, the players deserve all the credit - they're the ones who go out on the pitch and deliver, and they have delivered."

Howe, whose playing days were cut short by a knee injury in 2007, added: "My playing career grounded me because it was a struggle and I never achieved anything of note really, so when you get moments like this you do have to try and savour them and take it all in.

"You never know when the next one is going to come along so we're very grateful."

PA Media