May 4, 2018 / 12:25 PM / a year ago

Soccer: Howe urges Bournemouth to end season on a high after slump

(Reuters) - Bournemouth must strive to get positive results in their two remaining Premier League matches after their recent slump ended hopes of surpassing last season’s record points tally, manager Eddie Howe said ahead of Saturday’s match against Swansea City.

Soccer Football - Premier League - AFC Bournemouth vs West Bromwich Albion - Vitality Stadium, Bournemouth, Britain - March 17, 2018 Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe applauds fans after the match REUTERS/Peter Nicholls/Files

Bournemouth are on a three-game losing streak and have won just one of their last 10 matches to drop to 12th in the league on 38 points, leaving them eight points adrift of last season’s club record 46-point haul.

“My aim was to improve on last year to grow the team again to hit new levels, new standards of performance,” Howe told a news conference.

“I think this last part of the season has been hugely frustrating for me because I know we’re capable of so much better, but it is what it is.

“We’re in the position that we’re in, we need to make sure we end the season at home on a real high. The expectation from me to the players is to create a great atmosphere and put on a real performance.”

Howe believes that Bournemouth’s slump has mirrored that of his players’ mental decline and urged his team to regain their momentum to reach the 40-point mark this season.

“It’s very difficult at this level if you’re one or two percent off mentally... ,” Howe added. “We’ve just come off mentally, not technically not tactically.

“The biggest challenge now is to find that again so I’m urging my players to forget everything that’s happened and to go out and play to their maximum levels.”

Bournemouth are relatively safe as they sit six points ahead of 18th-placed Southampton and five ahead of Saturday’s visitors Swansea, both of whom have played a game fewer.

A win for Swansea will seal West Bromwich Albion’s relegation to the second-tier Championship but could also drag Bournemouth into the relegation scrap.

Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge

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