Howe says belief will be key as Cherries attempt to improve position

Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe was in a reflective mood when asked how he enjoyed his Christmas and his thoughts on the year ahead.

“My mind is always on the football. Yes, I enjoyed the Christmas period, but it’s difficult to take your mind away from the football. I think when we look back over 2017, we had a difficult start to the year and we’ve been going through a tough period of late, but in between that we’ve been able to secure that top half finish in the Premier League.

“We head in to 2018 hoping that we can change our fortunes around. We know we’re capable of doing it and we have to have that belief if we are to pick up some results and transform our league positions.”

December has proved particularly difficult with back-to-back matches against Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City. In terms of these recent performances he was upbeat and positive. “It was great to see us return to our best against West Ham.

We created lots of chances and looked really good in the final third. That is something we work on every day. Sometimes it comes out in games, other times it doesn’t. For me, it wasn’t just the West Ham game, but I also thought we looked very good going forward against Chelsea in the cup and away at Manchester United.”

When asked about the Cherries’ home form, he said: “I don’t think there has been a lot wrong with our performances at home.

We’ve dropped a few points in games that we probably shouldn’t have. The key thing is that we now build on those recent positive performances.”

This article first appeared in the Independent. To get the latest articles when they appear, buy the print edition every Sunday or subscribe to our online edition HERE.