Manchester United are still favourites, says Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe

Eddie Howe witnessed his team win 3-0 at Fulham. 1:00
Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe says his side need to perform above their best if they are to beat Manchester United in the Premier League

Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe says Manchester United remain the favourites for their Premier League game on Saturday despite the Cherries good form.

Howe's side have won nine out of their last 13 games in all competitions and currently sit sixth in the Premier League table, six points behind leaders Manchester City, with Jose Mourinho's United in eighth spot.

Bournemouth captain Simon Francis claimed they are "perhaps" the favourites heading into Saturday's match, but Howe was quick to dispel this romantic idea as United inflicted their last home defeat at the Vitality.

He said: "I wouldn't agree with that. Every time you play Manchester United as Bournemouth, Manchester United are favourites for the game, I've got no problem for that.

"Players need to know to get anything out of the game, they are going to have to excel, perhaps even above what we have done this season, to get a positive result.

Chris Smalling scored Manchester United's opening goal against Bournemouth
Image: Chris Smalling scored for Manchester United in their 2-0 win at the Vitality on April 18

"That's my message to the players. Whenever you play the elite teams, the big guns, you have to outperform your levels.

"You have to hit your very top to get a result. We have found that before, you can't play below your best and expect to win. The challenge is to win and go harder."

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Sky Bet agree with Howe, with United priced at evens to win the match, with Bournemouth and the draw both quoted at odds of 13/5.

Compared to last season, Bournemouth have got off to a good start, having won six out of 10 Premier League matches, whereas in the 2017/18 season, they won only two, drew one and lost seven.

And when asked if they had altered their targets for the new season, the 40-year-old replied: "I don't think so. We sat down at the start of the season and set targets.

2:43
Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe pays tribute to Leicester owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha

"I think we were conscious of our start last season and we were determined to try and improve on that. That was in our minds because last season we gave ourselves a big challenge to overcome.

"We started poorly, results were not good and we had to dig deep within ourselves to come again and find the strength to end up with a respectable league position.

"This year we remembered that, we focused on our pre-season, had a really good pre-season schedule and we have started well."

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