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Eddie Howe - Both teams are desperate to win, hopefully we'll be able to excel

Posted: Fri 21 Apr 2017

Eddie Howe says his side are "very motivated" to get back to winning ways against Middlesbrough on Saturday

After a three-game stretch against the league's top three sides AFC Bournemouth return home for the game with Middlesbrough.

The Cherries are 11 points ahead of Saturday's north-east rivals going into the game at Vitality Stadium with a positive result likely to be a large step towards Premier League safety for Eddie Howe's men.

“I’m not going to say that one win will make us safe but we’re very motivated to win this game," said Howe in his pre-match press conference. 

"We were on a really good run before playing the top two. We knew how hard this run was going to be but we’ve come out mainly unscathed after it.

“It will be an interesting game, both teams are desperate to win, it should make it a really good spectacle but hopefully one we can excel in."

After a recent switch in management, Steve Agnew has taken charge of the last five Boro games, though the former midfielder has as of yet not been able to claim a first league win since mid-December.

“They’re dangerous," commented Howe. "Every team in the Premier League is, we lost in the reverse fixture earlier this season and we know them very well form our Championship days together.

“Their personnel is largely the same and they’ve tweaked formations to try and get the results they want. 

“It’s about us from our perspective, how well we attack the game and how our minds are focused on doing what we want to do. We know our jobs and know how important the game is.”

The 63 goals conceded by the Cherries this term is the third highest figure in the Premier League and Howe commented that tightening up is a job for the whole team and not just the backline.

“It’s not a stat I like to hear,” said the manager. “I don’t put that down to the defence solely, I put it down to the team. The team has to function better to protect the goal.

“Improving is not just with new personal but new ways of working.”