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First team

Boss Eddie thanks fans for backing

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AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

Boss Eddie Howe watched AFC Bournemouth end their winless run in the Premier League and then thanked the club’s supporters for their backing during a difficult period.

Strikes from Harry Wilson and Callum Wilson sandwiched a Pascal Gross own goal as the Cherries registered a much-needed 3-1 victory over Brighton & Hove Albion at Vitality Stadium tonight.

It halted a sequence of six games in the top flight without a win and hoisted Howe’s team up a place to 18th in the Premier League table with only goal difference separating them from safety.   

Asked how big the win was, Howe said: “It feels big at the moment but time will tell. We were very pleased to win in front of our supporters. We knew how big tonight was in so many different ways.

“But we had a really big win against Chelsea a few weeks ago and wanted that to turn our momentum and turn the winning feeling we had that day into more wins.

“It didn’t happen so I’m very calm in this moment to say it was a great result and we scored some good goals. But at the same time, I am cautious not to build it up too much and then go flat again. We really want to kick on from this point.”

Following the final whistle, Howe and his players made a point of acknowledging the tremendous support they received from the Vitality Stadium faithful.

“I thought it was really important we did that,” said Howe. “They have come every week and watched us and we haven’t performed as we would have wanted to throughout the season and we acknowledge their support.

“There are a lot of clubs up and down the country that maybe wouldn’t have been given the time and support that we have and we have to recognise that and show our appreciation.

“I’m very thankful we performed and scored goals in front of them tonight and, hopefully, that feeling and bond between the players and supporters can remain strong because we are going to need them more than ever in our battle ahead.”

Discussing the game, Howe added: “Once we scored the first goal, I didn’t think we really looked back between then and half-time.

“I thought we were a different team. You could see us pressing harder and higher, you could see us braver on the ball and you could see some of the attacking moves we pride ourselves on coming back.

“For me, it rubber-stamped again that this is just a confidence issue for the group. It’s not a technical issue, it’s not the fact that the team isn’t good enough.

“We are good enough but we just need that feeling that we can play the football we want to play freely and with total belief and no doubts.

“It came back after the goal. It wasn’t a perfect performance. Brighton played well, especially early in the game. We were indebted to our goalkeeper who made a number of key saves but it was a win and, hopefully, we can build on it.”

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