By Jonathan Nagioff (@jonathannagioff)
AFC Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe says his side must put in a “perfect” display to beat Manchester City tomorrow and insists they remain in a relegation battle.
Bournemouth are without a Premier League win in five games after their 5-1 thrashing at Arsenal on Wednesday night.
But despite being nine points clear of the relegation zone in 12th, Howe says their place in the Premier League next season is not yet secured.
Asked whether his side are in danger, Howe told the media: “Yes because mathematically things can change so quickly in football.”
“There’s no complacency from my side. We want to achieve this season.
“The teams above us are still very close but the teams below us are very close as well so were in that position where we have to get results and we have to get wins quickly to achieve what we wanted to at the start of the season.”
Bournemouth have never beaten the reigning champions in the Premier League in seven attempts, conceding 24 goals.
However, Howe explained he is not daunted by the prospect of facing Pep Guardiola’s side,
“I prefer to look it at it the other way,” Howe said.
“I think it’s a good game for us. Let’s put arsenal to bed in our minds. I think there’s no good reflecting on that.
“We very much have to focus on man city now because if you don’t give all your energy to the preparation and size of task in this game it becomes even more difficult, so we’ve got limited preparation time, but we’ll be ready for a tough game.
“We have the capability if we play to our very, very best of beating anyone here. Our hope form has been very strong.
“Do we have the capability? Yes, but we have to be perfect in our game.
“We have to get every aspect of it right when we defend when we attack. But if we don’t get those disciplines perfect then it’s very difficult against these kind of teams.”
The two sides are separated by ten places and 34 points, with Guardiola’s side one point behind league leaders Liverpool.
Bournemouth were narrowly beaten when they met at Vitality Stadium last season, with Raheem Sterling scoring an injury-time winner.
And Howe is hoping his players can draw on some of the better performances they have put in against City.
“We’ve had some tough games against them. We’ve also had some games where it’s been tight,” Howe continued.
“The game against them this season I thought we performed well with the home game here, the closest we’ve been to getting a result.
“So we’ve had moments and we’ve also had some tough experiences where they’ve shown their quality. We hope and pray that we get our A game together, the crowd really get with us and we can produce a memorable performance.
“They’re style of football is a joy to watch. I enjoy watching them play.
“Every time I see them play, I feel like I learn something from how they do things.
“And his conduct as well. I think (Guardiola) he’s a really classy guy and handles himself so well amid the pressure of being at the top end of the table. So full admiration for him.”
Howe confirmed that injured trio Junior Stanislas (thigh), Dominic Solanke (thigh) and Steve Cook (groin) are all ruled out on Saturday’s clash.
However, late calls will be made on David Brooks, who was an unused substitute at the Emirates on Wednesday after returning from a knee injury and Callum Wilson, who has been out since January with an ankle problem.