It wasn’t pretty — at least not in the second half — but Bournemouth had enough “fight and belief” to get themselves over the line for a first-ever win away to Southampton on Friday.
Speaking after the game, Cherries manager Eddie Howe was obviously pleased by the victory in the Premier League‘s budding south coast rivalry, but quickly turned his attention to a list of areas in which his team came up short and was perhaps fortunate to hold onto a 2-1 lead prior to Callum Wilson‘s gifted goal in the 95th minute — quotes from the BBC:
“It was a nice moment. We rarely get those moments in football where you get that pure emotion and joy for a few seconds. Then you start thinking about next week.
“You want the players brought down to earth because you want the focus on consistent success. In the first, half we were okay. We didn’t hit the heights we are capable of. We were scrappy and didn’t keep the ball as well as I wanted, but we had spirit and sometimes that’s the most important thing.
“In the second half, we were reactive and looked tired and that’s where we needed to show our heart to see the game out. There were some heroics from our goalkeeper too.”
As for defender Nathan Ake, scorer of Bournemouth’s first goal, it was all about digging deep for the desire and will to win. The 24-year-old has established himself as one of the first names on Howe’s teamsheet every week at this point.
“It was a very tough game. The fans are buzzing. It was a great three points. The manager said to put the ball in the box.
“It was a great ball and it fell on my head. In the second half, we made it difficult for ourselves. We didn’t keep hold of the ball and had to defend more. The last result against Everton was great so it gives you confidence, but we had to fight and believe we could win.”
Had you offered anyone associated with Bournemouth 10 points from their first six games, they would have snatched your hand off to take them. A thoroughly solid start to the season. Up next is a visit from ninth-place West Ham United next Saturday.