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First team

Howe on City defeat, defensive approach and title race

Eddie Howe watches on from the touchline.

AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

AFC Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe says he was pleased with his side's pragmatic approach to competing with the reigning champions.

The Cherries boss was speaking to the media at his post-match press conference, after AFC Bournemouth fell to a 1-0 home defeat to Manchester City on Saturday.

Here's what he had to say on...

DEFENDING AGAINST A TOP SIDE…

We were pleased, overall, with how we defended. We had to answer a few questions from Wednesday against Arsenal. We pride ourselves on being organised and giving everything to every match without allowing our standards to drop.

We gave everything today and our young back three did really well considering their ages and lack of experience. They produced some good performances individually and collectively that kept us in the game.

The disappointment for me is that their goal is probably the ugliest goal they’ve scored this season. That’s what cost us the game.

Their technical level is so high. We were waiting for mistakes, for them to force passes and get frustrated and they didn’t. They kept doing the right, simple things, which meant that our chances to attack in the game were limited.

It’s that control that made it very difficult for us to get a foothold on the game in any way. Even when we tried to change things in the last 20 minutes and apply pressure it never really happened.

If we hadn’t conceded, who knows what would have happened? The longer it went on, maybe they would have been frustrated, but your defensive game against them has got to be very good because one slip or one momentary lapse can cost you. Artur did well and we weren’t troubled seriously until we went 1-0 down.

We’ve played them before in games where they’ve blown us away and some of the goals they’ve scored have been very good, but today, in an unspectacular way, they did nothing to stand out but kept making the right decisions at the right times and that deserves a lot of credit.

We have to share the blame for the goal. It was one of the few times when we weren’t as aggressive in our defending. You usually associate Manchester City with scoring beautiful goals. That will frustrate us because at that moment we were very much in the match.

We usually go into games with a totally different mindset – very much on the front foot and wanting to take the game to the opposition. I felt if we did that today we’d have left ourselves too open with their quality.

We approached it a different way and I was pleased with the effort and the determination to try to get a result.

THE PREMIER LEAGUE TITLE RACE…

It's very difficult to call who will win it. I wouldn’t like to say one way or the other. Manchester City and Liverpool have different styles of play but both have match winners and that’s a great thing to have.

Even though they’ve got good quality players right through their teams, at the right end of the pitch they have those difference makers.

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