“We won’t change our playing style” insists manager Eddie Howe as AFC Bournemouth prepare to take on Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.
The Cherries need to bounce back following their 5-1 defeat at the hands of Manchester City at the Etihad last Saturday, with Howe admitting “it was a difficult match to watch back, it’s important to move forward very quickly.”
The lessons which Howe took from last weekend were that the loss “could be a good thing, we have to grow from it, the goals we conceded were disappointing.”
At home Howe’s side will hope for a more solid defensive performance as they have only conceded 3 goals in 4 games at the Vitality Stadium so far, while Spurs have found the back of the net on only 4 occasions on the road this season.
Central defender Steve Cook has played a big part in the sides stability at the back over the past four years and is fully aware of this, stating that “a positive result is vital as we have tough games coming up.”
This is only the second competitive meeting between the two clubs, the first coming back in an FA Cup tie in 1957 – which AFC Bournemouth won 3-1.
Getting a positive result against this Spurs side will not be easy as the club are unbeaten in the league since the opening day of the season (Won 3, Drawn 5).
That being said, the North London club slumped to a 2-1 defeat in the Europa League on Thursday night away at Belgian side Anderlecht.
Cook has viewed the season so far as “a great learning curve”, especially has he now adjusts to playing alongside experienced defender Sylvain Distin as opposed to usual partner, club captain Tommy Elphick, who continues to recover from his ankle injury.
When asked if Distin, 37, had still ‘got it’ as a player, he responded; “without a doubt” and looks forward to playing with him more this season.
The pair will be severely tested on Sunday as they try and handle the threat of striker Harry Kane, who despite only finding the back of the net once in the league this season, is still creating plenty of opportunities for himself and that makes him dangerous.
Cook was full of praise for the 22 year old England striker, as a player “he has everything”, while Howe echoed those thoughts, “I’m a big admirer of Harry Kane, huge talent, pleased to see him doing well in the Premier League.”
Turning attention towards Spurs and manager Mauricio Pochettino, Howe said “I admire good players working hard” adding that the Argentinian has “done well to import his philosophy”, creating a playing style similar to that of what he worked on during his time at Southampton.
With regards to early team news and player injury updates, Howe was still unsure on the extent of goalkeeper, Artur Boruc’s injury, as the club received “conflicting reports” following the scan on his thigh.
AFC Bournemouth have had in the words of Cook, “a season’s worth of injuries”, making the January transfer window a crucial time for the club to strengthen.
Harry Arter is “not far away” from a return, but pressures to get him back on the pitch have been eased following recent performances from central midfielder Dan Gosling.
Howe praised his performance last week and said that “he has been a huge positive this season.”
There is more good news for the AFC Bournemouth midfield as “Andrew Surman has recovered quite well” and is in contention to play against Spurs.
The action gets underway at the Vitality Stadium at 2:05pm on Sunday in what kicks off a big week for the club, who “will go to Anfield keen to progress” on Wednesday night in the 4th round of the Capital One Cup.