Howe has work cut out to halt Bournemouth slide
ABS-CBN Sports on Feb 28, 2017 11:51 AM
Eddie Howe (AP Photo)
JUSTIN PALMER, Associated Press
LONDON (AP) — Without a win since New Year's Eve, the pressure is mounting on Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe.
The former Bournemouth defender, still only 39, is widely regarded as one of the most promising managers in England, and has been earmarked as a future national team coach. He's also rumored to be a possible successor to Arsene Wenger at Arsenal.
But for now, the focus will be on keeping Bournemouth in the Premier League after a worrying slump in form.
The south-coast club, with a stadium capacity of about 11,000 fans, is in its second season in the Premier League. The team hasn't won since beating Swansea 3-0 on Dec. 31, slipping to 14th place.
A 2-1 loss at West Bromwich Albion on Saturday was Bournemouth's fifth in its last six games, leaving the club only five points above the Premier League's bottom three with 12 games remaining.
"He won't buckle under pressure," Bournemouth midfielder Marc Pugh said of Howe. "He will be relishing the challenge and I am sure he will turn things around."
With a reputation for liking his team to play attractive and entertaining soccer, Howe has been earning compliments ever since he entered management at the age of 31. He guided Bournemouth from the fourth tier of English soccer to the Premier League across two spells and finished a respectable 16th last year.
True to his philosophy, Bournemouth has continued to entertain this season at its small but homely Vitality Stadium, where fans create a noisy atmosphere.
"The manager is top class. He will never change his philosophy," Pugh said. "We don't want to change that philosophy. It's brought us success and I am sure there is a lot more success to come."
In December, Bournemouth came back from a 3-1 deficit to beat Liverpool 4-3. Then, in early January, it took a 3-0 lead against Arsenal, only to be pegged back to 3-3 in the final 20 minutes.
Entertainment aside, Bournemouth's problem has been conceding goals with alarming regularity, highlighted by its humiliating 6-3 loss at Everton this month.
But despite his team's slide, Howe remains determined "not to change everything that's good about us."
West Brom manager Tony Pulis certainly seems to agree.
"They play some smashing football, they just need a break," Pulis said after Saturday's match. "Hopefully that will come along and they will push on. Any club in this league can go on a run like that. If you are just a tad off it, you pay for it."