Cherries are not for plucking now, says Howe

Manager Eddie Howe has led Bournemouth, who are eighth, to historic wins over Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and United in recent years.
Manager Eddie Howe has led Bournemouth, who are eighth, to historic wins over Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and United in recent years.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Bournemouth have scored only one goal and conceded 13 on their last three visits to Manchester City but Eddie Howe is still optimistic ahead of the clash with the Premier League champions.

The manager has challenged the Cherries to "create a historic moment" for the club by claiming an improbable scalp of Pep Guardiola's side, despite losing 4-0, 4-0 and 5-1 at the Etihad Stadium.

He told Sky Sports: "They are the team we have struggled against the most, along with Tottenham.

"Every time we have gone there, we have really grown and learnt from the experience although they have been painful.

"I don't think it is damage limitation for us. It is an opportunity for us to create a historic moment for the football club. I'd rather see it as a positive challenge rather than a negative one."

Under him, Bournemouth have earned historic wins over Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United. This season, they gave United a serious fright, drew at home with Everton, conceded late goals at Chelsea and made Arsenal work in defeat last time out.

But they have never beaten City in six meetings, conceding 21 goals and finding the net only twice.

Still, Howe said his team will take the game to City, instead of sitting back and defending in numbers.

"We're in our best shape in terms of performances against the bigger teams, we have been doing well in the games. We believe we can win any game and this is a positive challenge," the 41-year-old added.

Bournemouth midfielder Dan Gosling is a doubt after picking up a minor knee injury in last Sunday's 2-1 loss to Arsenal. The side will also be without record signing Jefferson Lerma, who is suspended after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season last time out.

City's promising midfielder Phil Foden is hoping that he will finally get a starting place today with the glut of December fixtures - nine games across three competitions.

He has made six starts, two in Champions League matches that effectively had nothing riding on them, three in the League Cup and one in the Community Shield.

All 12 of his Premier League appearances have come as a substitute, but Guardiola insists the England Under-21 international has a future at the club .

Said the Spaniard, who will miss the services of Kevin de Bruyne, Benjamin Mendy and Claudio Bravo: "He is part of the squad. It's about my decisions. He is ready. After that, he has to compete with his teammates and sometimes it is not possible, but he is ready."

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, THE GUARDIAN

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 01, 2018, with the headline 'Cherries are not for plucking now, says Howe'. Print Edition | Subscribe