July 12, 2018 / 7:18 AM / 9 months ago

Soccer: Bournemouth toughening up in pre-season, says Howe

Soccer Football - Premier League - Burnley vs AFC Bournemouth - Turf Moor, Burnley, Britain - May 13, 2018 Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe applauds their fans after the match Action Images via Reuters/Craig Brough/Files

(Reuters) - Bournemouth have chosen high-quality pre-season opponents to prepare the team for a demanding Premier League campaign, manager Eddie Howe has said.

The south coast club struggled with consistency last campaign and were in the relegation zone before a mid-season resurgence helped them finish 12th in the league.

To avoid another poor start, Bournemouth have set up six pre-season fixtures, three of which are against Spanish top-flight sides Sevilla, Levante and Real Betis and another against French team Marseille.

“We wanted tougher games this pre-season and I think that is reflected in our schedule,” Howe told the club’s website.

“... We are in the Premier League where every game is of such a high standard that your pre-season has to mirror that, and I believe we have done that this year.

“It’s very important to settle the group down and get to know what to expect of each other during a tough season, so it’s an invaluable experience for us.”

Bournemouth will also face second-tier Championship teams Bristol City and Nottingham Forest before the start of the league campaign.

Howe’s team will play their opening pre-season fixture against Sevilla on Saturday. The south coast club will face newly-promoted Cardiff City in their first league match on Aug. 11.

Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru

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