AFC Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe reflected on a disappointing day and put his sides 3-1 defeat to local rivals Southampton down to his side lacking in the physical department, perhaps down to the fact that the Cherries had played three Premier League games in eight days.
The Cherries took an early lead through a diving headed goal from Nathan Ake but Howe’s side quickly tired and struggled to create any noteworthy opportunities as an equaliser from Ryan Bertrand followed by a second half brace from Jay Rodriguez was enough to sink the Dorset side.
“We weren’t at our best physically today that’s for sure, I thought they looked sharper than us”, Howe said. “ We struggled to put pressure on the ball which is really unlike us, especially here at home. Technically, just to round it all off we weren’t as good as our usual selves.”
Sunday’s match against the Saints was the third in one week, following a 3-2 defeat away at Burnley last weekend and a 1-0 win over Leicester City in midweek. That number of games had an impact on AFC Bournemouth’s performance in the eyes of Howe. He said: “I still feel that physically right from the start of the game we didn’t look quite right today, three games in eight days and we didn’t respond quite right in this third one so that’s something for me to look back and reflect on.”
Ake the bright spark in an otherwise poor performance from the Cherries
Ake’s goal on six minutes was superbly taken and after scoring the winning goals against Stoke City and Liverpool the defender has really caught the attention of many and the young defender has also impressed defensively, receiving plenty of praise from Howe. “I thought Nathan was excellent today, take away his goal, that side I felt that he defended really well, I thought his positioning was excellent, he used the ball well and he can be very pleased with his days work”, he said.
With all this attention it is understandable that due to the fact he is on loan from current league leaders Chelsea, talks will inevitably turn towards whether his parent club will recall him. There is a clause in his contract where the Blues can recall him in January, but Howe very much hopes that it will not be the case and that the Dutch defender completes his season with the Cherries.
Leaking cheap goals a real concern for Howe
The Cherries have been leaking goals of late and aside from the clean sheet against Leicester in midweek Howe’s men have conceded three goals in each of the last few matches against Arsenal, Liverpool, Burnley and now against the Saints.
This is something of real concern for the Bournemouth manager: “Of course it’s a concern. In a game where, although we didn’t play very well I don’t feel like they had many outstanding chances, but we conceded three again and we haven’t really been overworked so it’s definitely something we have to look at.” Next up for Howe’s men, a trip to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea, who have won 11 league games in a row.