AFC Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe feels that games against Manchester City "are a one-off" after his side were beaten 4-0 on Saturday afternoon at the Etihad Stadium.
Pep Guardiola’s side were dominant throughout but Bournemouth did manage to compete well in the first-half. However, they did head into the half-time break behind following Sergio Agüero’s opener.
The second-half was a different story as Raheem Sterling doubled City’s lead early on which allowed the hosts to take full control of the game. Bournemouth really struggled to deal with City’s attacking talent on the counterattack as they tried to force a way back into it. This resulted in Aguero scoring his second goal of the game before Danilo added gloss to the scoreline with around five minutes remaining.
Howe revealed that his side had a game plan to make it very difficult for the hosts but they were just too good. He said: “I think they are an outstanding team, a very difficult team to play against. We came here with a game plan to try and make it very difficult for them to find spaces in our midfield and to stay in the game as long as we could.”
He added: “The goal came from our own mistake which is disappointing. I thought the rest of the first-half was pretty good from our perspective. The second goal is a killer in the game. We had a go but it was too much in the end.”
Was always going to be a tough match
Howe explained how it is very difficult to know how to approach games against opponents such as Manchester City with the quality they possess. He felt that his side’s game plan was working in the first-half in which the Cherries managed to hold their own.
He said: “We try and approach every game with the mind-set that we want to try and win. Games against Manchester City are a one-off really. You have got to get the balance right between how brave you are going to be with the ball and how brave you are going to be with your press.”
He added: “If you get that wrong even for a second, they have got the players to expose that.”
However, he does believe that they are beatable despite the fact Guardiola’s side have now won 17 consecutive Premier League matches and have only suffered defeat once so far this season in all competitions.
He said: “I think anyone is beatable. You cannot tell what is going to happen, the season is so unpredictable. There were moments before half-time where we perhaps could have scored and the game may have been different. They looked very strong and have a very good feel about them.”
A big few weeks ahead for the Cherries
The Cherries have had a horrendous run of fixtures in recent weeks which has seen them face Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea and City in their last four games in all competitions. Howe is glad to have got these fixtures out of the way and is looking forward to the next few games which he believes are vital for his side.
He said: "I think the games to come are going to be vital for us. The fixtures we have had have been incredibly difficult, we are through that now. We have got to focus on the games we have coming up."
He added: "It has been a tough run for us and with the injuries we had we could not rotate as much as maybe we would have wanted to. We just hope that we get the players back soon as we need a full squad."
Junior Stanislas was substituted in the first-half with a hamstring injury to add to seven players already out injured for the Cherries. Howe explained how he has some key players missing but does not know whether any will be back to face West Ham United on Boxing Day.
He said: "We have got some big players missing, we are going to need them back. Whether they will be back for West Ham, I do not know."