By Jonathan Nagioff (@jonathannagioff)
AFC Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe has called for his side to emulate the form they showed at the closing stages of last season, ahead of Wednesday’s fixture against Manchester United.
With four matches remaining of the campaign the Cherries have accumulated 38 points, the same tally they achieved at the equivalent stage last season.
Bournemouth have had a mixed 2018 but significantly have only picked up one victory in their last eight attempts, including a 3-0 drubbing at Anfield on Sunday.
Howe has challenged his players to end the season strongly, starting tomorrow night at home to the Red Devils.
“I would love to finally end the position we’re in because we’ve been creeping there,” Howe explained at his pre-match press conference. “We’ve got four games to do that, starting against Manchester United.
“We are in exactly the same position as were this time last year, we finished really strongly last season, so the challenge is there for us to do that again.”
The south coast side can add further misery on Jose Mourinho’s men, who surrendered the Premier League title to rivals Manchester City on Sunday after their 1-0 defeat against West Bromwich Albion.
However, the Cherries will have to end a barren run against United with their only Premier League win coming against Louis Van Gaal’s United side in 2015.
Bournemouth were narrowly beaten 1-0 in the reverse fixture in December, but boss Howe has been impressed with his team’s form since the tricky Christmas period, which culminated in defeats against both Manchester clubs and Liverpool at Vitality Stadium.
Howe added: “Our form since Christmas has been really good but there’s a frustration that we haven’t really kicked on and found the fluency in the performances we’ve created.
“It is a motivation, it is something that we want to do, we’ve improved our league every year as we’ve gone on.
“Our target at the start of the season was to do that again so these are important games for us.”
Kick off at the Vitality Stadium is at 7.45pm.