AFC Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe admitted that his players are lacking confidence, as their run of games without a win continued at the Hawthorns on Saturday, but stated that he's not prepared to sacrifice stye for success in their bid to stay up.
Howe watched from the sidelines as his team threw away an early lead against West Bromwich Albion, eventually losing 2-1, a result which five points above the relegation zone with 12 games left to play.
Confidence hit by another defeat
Speaking in his post-match press conference, Howe admitted that "Confidence is naturally low, you could see from display today, with the difference in both boxes, but I do believe there’s a lot of strength in this team."
With Bournemouth still without a win, or clean sheet, in 2017, there are worries that the Cherries may find themselves back in the Championship come September, something their manager is concerned about.
"Naturally it concerns me," said Howe, stating "I've got no problem facing that head on."
There are questions over whether Bournemouth's style of football is sustainable in a Premier League dogfight, especially where points are few and far between.
"Only one way to get out of this"
However, Howe was keen to stress that he won't be forgoing his style in order to 'win ugly'.
"There's only one way to get out of this, to work harder, smarter, not to change and throw everything away that we’ve built and everything that’s good about us.
"With the goals we conceded, the timing was what decided the game. It's frustrating because you lose, but especially after a perfect start."
Questions over Bournemouth's defence continued as they shipped at least two goals for an eighth consecutive game, leaving Howe to lament the suspension of Simon Francis and loss of other key players at certain times, when asked about their poor record at the back.
One individual in particular cost them at the Hawthorns, with goalkeeper Artur Boruc flapping at a corner, allowing Gareth McAuley to stab home what proved to be the winner.
However, the Cherries boss refused to criticise his goalkeeper, saying; "It's the life of a goalkeeper, everyone is going to make mistakes and make big saves, we know his qualities and back him."
Is Howe's job security slipping?
Following Claudio Ranieri's sacking at Leicester City on Thursday, less than 300 days after the Foxes lifted the Premier League trophy, questions about Howe's job security were inevitable.
The Englishman did admit that he's got to be careful despite the success he's achieved with the South Coast club, quipping "I’ve always said that I need to be getting result to be in the job despite my history here."