REUTERS - Bournemouth have set their sights on securing Premier League survival by beating basement side Sunderland on Saturday, manager Eddie Howe said.
Bournemouth beat second-bottom Middlesbrough 4-0 last weekend to climb to 13th in the table, putting them within touching distance of safety on 38 points with four games left, but Howe said there was still work to be done.
“I won’t accept we’re safe until it’s mathematically done,” Howe told reporters on Friday. “We’d love to get over the 40-point barrier this weekend...”
“Any away game in the Premier League is difficult. While there’s hope for Sunderland, they’ll keep going. It will be tough.”
Teams that reach 40 points are usually considered safe from relegation.
Howe is happy with his team’s progress in their second season in the top flight, saying the tiny South coast club had proved they had adapted to the Premier League after finishing 16th last time around.
”My focus is always on my team, our focus and what we can do,“ he added. ”I‘m proud of how the players have adapted to the Premier League.
“We’ve been slightly more inconsistent than we’d have liked, but I see progression in the team and we’re going the right way.”
Goalkeeper Artur Boruc is set to stay at the club till 2018, after making enough appearances this season to automatically trigger an extension clause in his contract.
“We’re really pleased for Artur, he’s been so consistent for us and in really good form. He’s won us points this season,” Howe said.
Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru; editing by John Stonestreet