by Dan Davis (@dan_davis20)
Manager Eddie Howe lauded a ‘professional’ display from his side, after Cherries’ home victory over Swansea ensured a fourth consecutive season in the Premier League.
Ryan Fraser’s well-taken finish eight minutes before half time proved to be the difference between the two sides, in an entertaining clash at Vitality Stadium. Cherries now sit on 41 points, five shy of their record total from last season and with a final day fixture at high-flying Burnley.
In his post-match conference, Howe spoke about the feelings after last weekend’s defeat to Southampton compared to beating the Swans.
“To go from a really low point last week to today, it was really professional and we got the job done in tough circumstances.” Cherries’ boss said.
“In both halves we were much better and early on we set the intensity of the game.
“Our strikers worked incredibly hard and stretched them down the sides – it could have been more for us but we’re happy with the performance.”
A frantic opening twenty minutes against the Welsh side would have seen the visitors edge in front, if not for the superb interventions of Cherries’ goalkeeper Asmir Begovic. Having also finished third in the poll for April’s player of the month, the Bosnian international continued his recent good form with a superb double save - first to deny Mike van der Hoorn’s close range effort and then to keep out Nathan Dyer’s strike seconds later.
Howe praised the ‘huge’ saves from the shot stopper, and Cherries’ overall defensive effort:
“Our goalkeeper made a couple of great saves when you reflect on it. When you look back at the first half we’re really pleased as Asmir made two huge saves.
“Of course we would’ve loved the second goal but it been a long wait for a clean sheet. We’ve worked so hard behind the scenes to improve our defensive record and it finally yielded its results.
“It was a good solid effort, I’ll take a 1-0!”
With Cherries’ Premier League survival now confirmed, Howe also briefly looked ahead to next season’s campaign.
“For clubs down the bottom, it doesn’t get any easier. If you look at the teams that are down there, you’d never have those teams where they are. I don’t think there’s any such thing as an established club, if everyone has a bad season, lose key players to injury, then you can end up down there.” the boss explained.
“The challenge for us gets harder not easier, progressing the club has been a real challenge and that’s how I’ve found our three years.
“The players have proven they’re Premier League players but the expectation around the club changes and it’s our biggest challenge.”