Jermain Defoe will be a big player for Bournemouth this season, says Eddie Howe
Jermain Defoe will play a pivotal role in propelling Bournemouth up the Premier League table, according to manager Eddie Howe.
Defoe has struck just one goal in nine appearances this term since his summer move from Sunderland, and took a seat on the bench in the Cherries' 1-0 loss against his former club Tottenham at Wembley last weekend.
Howe insists Defoe remains central to his plans this term, however, starting with Saturday's trip to Stoke.
"Jermain's going to be a big player for us this season; he's going to have many uses, and sometimes that will be from the bench," Howe said of the 35-year-old.
"We changed things tactically at Spurs and it worked very well.
"Jermain's a key part of our squad this season. Even when he came on at Tottenham we noted how bright he looked. He will score goals in this team.
"I think there is an element of managing his workload. The front players, the explosive sprinters, you have to make sure they are fresh going into games.
"And we're lucky where we have a pool of strikers to pick from; when Callum Wilson comes back after his knee injury we'll have five outstanding strikers who would all say they deserve to start."
Bournemouth sit 19th in the table with just one win from eight games.
While the Cherries still have time to hit their stride, after three winless Premier League encounters Howe admits his charges must find form quickly.
"Managerial sackings already this season are a sign that there's a lot of extreme reactions to one result one way or the other," Howe said.
"I'm reluctant to say it's too early to draw conclusions, but we know we've go to start picking up points and winning games to have a successful season.
"I'm confident in the players' ability and character that we can do this.
"There's nothing drastically wrong. I would defend the team, but we can still do better."
Manchester City hammered Stoke 7-2 in Mark Hughes' side's last outing, but Howe does not think that will leave the Potters any more vulnerable this weekend.
Howe believes the increasing strength of the league's big boys means their results can almost be discounted when gauging opponents' form.
"Games like Manchester City, you just have to take out of context," Howe said.
"Some of the football they played in that game was incredible, but from our perspective, it's just one strange game in terms of the scoreline.
"I do think the quality in those teams has gone up this season.
"This year I'm very impressed. Even the Man City game when we were close to them, you have to admire their quality in getting the result.
"Tottenham, watching their games, you admire their quality, and they are strong, and Manchester United have gone up a level as well.
"We've got to find a way to try to pick up points in games against the top teams."