(Reuters) - Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe has urged his players to improve on their Premier League points tally from last season with a strong end to the campaign.
Bournemouth’s 3-0 defeat at Liverpool last weekend came after draws against Crystal Palace and Watford, leaving the Cherries 11th in the standings with 38 points, eight short of the 46 they managed last season.
“Our form since Christmas has been really good but there’s a frustration that we haven’t really kicked on and found the fluency in the performances we’ve created,” Howe told reporters ahead of Wednesday’s home game against Manchester United.
“We are in exactly the same position as were this time last year, we finished really strongly last season so the challenge is there for us to do that again.
“It is a motivation, it is something that we want to do. Our target at the start of the season was to do that again so these are important games for us.”
Howe will be without the injured Junior Stanislas and Adam Smith while United will look to rotate their team ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final against Tottenham Hotspur.
Howe expects his players to show defensive resolve.
“One or two disappointing results and you can tumble down the league,” the manager added.
“We’ve been picking up points all the way through, and we don’t want to lose that position. When you’ve worked so hard, you’ve got to finish the season off properly.”
Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond