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First Team

Three things we learned: Parker's pre-Villa press conference


AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

AFC Bournemouth head coach Scott Parker joined the media ahead of this weekend’s opening day fixture with Aston Villa.

Here's three things we learned…

1. Some positive news on the transfer and contract front

The Cherries head coach seemed in a great mood ahead of this weekend’s action, partly because of the addition of Marcus Tavernier this week as well as the contract extension for Dominic Solanke.

Tavernier became the third signing of the summer when he arrived from Middlesbrough on Monday and Parker was clear in his delight, telling the media: “Securing that signing was really big for us. He’s a player we really like and he’s a player we feel can go to the next level in the Premier League.”

Parker also praised the club for securing the signature of Solanke, who netted 30 goals for the club last season, as well as Mark Travers, who agreed a new deal earlier in the month.

He said: “It’s great news for us that we’ve managed to nail down Dom down on a longer-term contract.

“Last season for Dom was the first real season in which he was prolific, with 30 goals. Mark Travers had his first full season last year in goal and had an incredible season.

“To nail down both of these players on longer contracts is ambitious from the club, it definitely shows the direction we want to go to.

“I’m pleased we’ve managed to secure both of those players and hopefully maybe more as well, just to keep the progression of the team in the right direction.”

2. Parker still wants to excite fans on the pitch

The challenge of the Premier League will inevitably bring a pragmatism to the way that the Cherries play at times, but Parker is adamant that he doesn’t want his team to change their approach too drastically.

He told the media: ““I hope it isn’t going to look too different!

“There’s challenges for any promoted team going into the Premier League and the quality you face, there’s things you’ve got to alter and things you’ve got to change.

“With my experience in the Premier League – playing in it for 20-odd years and coaching in it for one season – I have ideas on how I feel we’ll be best equipped and of course I might be wrong in that but I believe my qualities and my experience will make me at least attempt to make the right call.

“I still want us to be dynamic, I still want us to be an aggressive team in those moments. We’re a young team and we saw that last year, a young, free-flowing team. I’d like to think we’ll see that again this year.”

3. Parker’s battles with Steven Gerrard

There will be a familiar face in the opposite dugout for Parker on Saturday: his former England teammate Steven Gerrard.

The Aston Villa boss needs little introduction, the 42-year-old is regarded as one of the greatest midfielders of his generation and Parker admitted that he enjoyed playing alongside him more than he enjoyed playing against him.

He told the press: “[Gerrard is] certainly in our generation, arguably, one of the greatest midfielders – certainly that I came up against.

“He was an all-around midfielder, he could do every part of the game, score goals and he was dynamic defensively. Playing with him was a pleasure.

“He was brilliant to play with, to play against not so much. There was always a battle on your hand and always some challenges.”

The action kicks-off at 3pm on Saturday with supporters able to listen to the game for free on afcb.co.uk.

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