The Cherries, who were promoted to the top-flight for the first time in history back in 2015, done all they could on the final day of the season as they beat Everton 3-1 at Goodison Park.
We haven’t been good enough this season
Josh King, Dominic Solanke and Junior Stanislas guided the Cherries to a deserved victory over Everton on the final day of the season, but it wasn’t enough to keep them in the Premier League.
Howe, who has been in charge at Bournemouth since 2012, was very emotional after the game and spoke how he and the team are “hurting” after the relegation.
“This has been the hardest moment of my career,” Howe said. “I know the players are hurting, I saw the dressing room, I was with the players, albeit not for too long. They’ve all very, very disappointed with what’s happened.
“Not so much today, but during the season, we haven’t been good enough, so it’s a very solent place at the moment.”
Performance against Everton was one of the best this season
With three points secured at Goodison with around 10 minutes remaining around the Premier League, all eyes turned to the two other important games going on elsewhere at the same time.
Howe and his team were aware of the scores in the Villa and Watford games, especially in the latter stages, and the Bournemouth manager admitted that despite the performance against Everton being one of the best one this season, they now have to deal with the “reality” of relegation.
He added: “[I was] very aware because on the scoreboard here the scores were rotating through the game, so the scores were flashing up on the two big scoreboards.
“The players would’ve been aware, we were aware, there was no hiding from it. I thought, with that considered, the players dealt with it very well.
“We performed very well today. It was an excellent team performance, it was one of our best performances in a long time and when you look at the team today, never a team that’s going to be relegated, but that is the reality and that’s what we have to deal with.”
It’s been a difficult and hugely frustrating season
The turnaround between this season and next is quicker than usual and the club will prepare for life in the Championship after their five-year fairytale in English football’s top-flight come to an end.
Howe will take time to reflect on the club’s “difficult” and "frustrating” season, but that time “can’t be too long” with the new season starting on September 12.
“There’s a lot to take in because it wasn’t just about today, but the season as a whole,” the Bournemouth manager said. “It’s been a very difficult season, a hugely frustrating one from my perspective because we haven’t hit the standard of performance that we expect or have come to expect from this group of players over a long period of time.
“There will be a period of reflection, but it can’t be too long because the next season rolls into it very quickly.”
Talking about his future with the club, Howe continued: “The next step for me would be to speak with the owner and the board of directors and see where we go from here.
“We need to have a strong vision of the future and that’s the next step.”