Eddie Howe hails match-winner Benik Afobe in Swansea victory
Last Updated: 18/03/17 10:20pm
Eddie Howe praised Benik Afobe after he landed a knockout blow to Swansea and all-but secured Bournemouth's Premier League status.
After strike partner Joshua King had hit nine goals in his last 10 league outings, Afobe took centre stage to sink the Swans with a second-half strike after his earlier shot had been deflected past his own goalkeeper by the unwitting Alfie Mawson.
The 2-0 win, coupled with the fighting victory over West Ham last weekend in which King scored a hat-trick, means Bournemouth now sit nine points clear of the bottom three.
Bournemouth dominated proceedings against a nervous Swansea outfit, who offered very little in attack despite the visitors being able to name Fernando Llorente as their main striker.
Afobe had only hit three goals before today but has been recalled into Howe's side in recent weeks and repaid the faith in his manager with a match-winning display.
"I am delighted for him, Afobe, as I was for Josh last week," Howe said of the former Arsenal youngster.
"To have goalscorers doing their job and putting the ball in the net for us is massive, it's massive for any team.
"The confidence that you can score goals in any moment, that you have the ability to open up defences. I thought his second goal tonight was a really good finish at a big moment in the game."
Howe's side had not kept a clean sheet in 2017 before today but he pinpointed a battling point at Manchester United a fortnight ago as the moment his players turned relegation form into back-to-back wins.
"There have been really positive steps for us in the last three games," he said.
"Manchester United was a real turning point for us and then we have backed it up with the two home games that we knew were so important, especially with the fixtures we have to come.
"Full credit to the players because it is one thing knowing the importance of the games but actually going out and delivering a very good performance again tonight, our players were very impressive."