(Reuters) - Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe says his side have shown clear signs of improvement in recent games and that while they continue to sit in the Premier League relegation zone they are now approaching something close to top form.
The club dropped to 19th in the table after losing their opening four league fixtures and have stayed in the bottom three after registering just a single win and a draw in the next four.
“The first two games (defeats to West Bromwich Albion and Watford) were a real disappointment and we are probably getting punished for those games now in terms of the league position and how everyone’s feeling,” Howe told the Daily Echo.
“But I think in the past month, we have returned to somewhere near our best levels.”
Howe said they should have taken full points from the visit of Leicester at the end of last month instead of being held to a 0-0 draw.
“We could have won the Leicester game by a big number and everyone would feel different about the team,” he added.
“The challenge is to not get lost in the hype and the feeling of losing, where you can suddenly think, ‘we have got to change everything’ and come away from things we have trusted and used so well down the years,” Howe added.
“You also have to see the games you are playing in context. We’ve played Arsenal and Tottenham away and City at home. Last year we found those games incredibly difficult and it was no different to this year.
“The challenge for us is against the other teams in the division where we are going to need to pick up points.”
Bournemouth travel to 17th-placed Stoke City on Saturday.
Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford