Eddie Howe enduring 'most difficult' period as Bournemouth manager

Bournemouth have won just one of last nine Premier League games, ahead of New Year's Day clash at West Ham

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Eddie Howe admits he is facing the toughest period in charge of Bournemouth, who have lost seven of their last nine Premier League games

Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe admits he is in the midst of his toughest period in charge but refuses to view the struggles of his injury-hit squad as a "hard-luck story".

A 2-0 defeat at Brighton, who themselves went into Saturday's match with a league-high nine home defeats in 2019, left Bournemouth sitting just two points above the Premier League relegation zone.

Bournemouth have won one of their last nine league matches - at Chelsea earlier this month - and Howe, who is the longest-serving top-flight boss, is hopeful the new year can bring an upturn in their fortunes.

Eddie Howe applauds the travelling Bournemouth fans after defeat at Brighton
Image: Howe applauds the travelling Bournemouth fans after defeat at Brighton

"It's been a tough year," said Howe, who led Bournemouth to promotion from the Championship in 2014/15.

"If I cast my mind back to last year, we started the season with injuries and a stretched squad.

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Brighton's win over Bournemouth in the Premier League

"We battled and got through and achieved our aims throughout the season.

"But this early season has been probably the most difficult I have had in terms of resources. I have learned a lot throughout it and am looking forward to maybe a change of luck as we go into a new year."

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Bournemouth start 2020 with a trip to West Ham, who sacked Manuel Pellegrini on Saturday after a ninth loss in their past 12 games left them just a point above the relegation zone in 17th place.

Eddie Howe's second spell at Bournemouth has lasted more than seven years
Image: Howe's second spell at Bournemouth has lasted more than seven years

Defenders Nathan Ake and Adam Smith are among a number of injured Bournemouth players, along with long-term absentees David Brooks and Charlie Daniels.

"Every year that Bournemouth stay in the Premier League has to be the overriding thing that is remembered, not injuries," Howe said.

"It is not a hard-luck story, it is not [about] feeling sorry for ourselves. We stayed in the Premier League.

"It is our fifth year. It is going to be very difficult to do it again but we can achieve it and continue to look optimistically for the future."

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