Belfast Telegraph

Eddie Howe aiming high but won't set European goal

Eddie Howe insists Bournemouth can still aim for more despite leading the Cherries to their highest-ever Premier League position of eighth.

Marc Pugh's volley eased Howe's men past reigning champions Leicester 1-0 on Tuesday night to send Bournemouth to new top-flight heights.

Six years ago Bournemouth were languishing in League Two, and now Howe has admitted many at the club deserve to bask in the glory of their Premier League ascent.

While the unflappable Howe himself immediately refocused on further progress he refused to set an outright target of European qualification.

"I think that's an understatement really, from our perspective, to be happy," said Howe, when asked his feelings on moving up to eighth.

"You have to say it a few times for it, well maybe not really for it to sink in because we've been in the Premier League a while, but it's a nice thing to say.

"We're building nicely. The team is growing and getting better and there's still a lot more to come.

"We're in a really good position to hopefully kick on and get better further.

"The club's come so far so quickly, sometimes it's maybe nice for others to sit back and enjoy the position we're in.

"But for me, I'm always looking for more and to achieve the next goal, and that's to try to beat Southampton."

Asked if the Cherries can now seriously contemplate qualification for continental competition, Howe said: "I'm not going to say Europe, I'm going to say I want to make the team better. I want to make the team stronger.

"And in many aspects I believe that's possible. So what that leads to, who knows?

"When you consider where the club was a few years ago you wouldn't have thought this was possible. But it's not my job to sit back and look at that achievement in any kind of way, because there's another dream to chase now."

Winger Pugh celebrated his first start of the season with the winning goal, leaving boss Howe delighted with the 29-year-old's hard-working attitude.

"I thought Marc was absolutely magnificent tonight, and he's one of the shining examples of what I look for in a Bournemouth player," said Howe.

"He's been out of the squad, not just out of the team but out of the squad.

"He's had to wait, bide his time, be patient. He's been the model professional."

Leicester's eighth loss of the campaign left the Foxes now holding the worst away record of any Premier League defending champions after eight matches on the road.

Claudio Ranieri's men have won just one point from their eight league clashes away from the east midlands - but the Italian boss insists his side's form on the road can improve quickly.

"I think the result is too harsh for us, we deserved a draw," said Ranieri.

"I know we only have one point from eight matches away from home b ut I think we can improve, because I'm sure in the next eight matches we'll do something more.

"Look, in the Champions League we've played well (away from home). In the Premier League; no. Why? I don't know.

"We have to react, we have to concentrate more, to be more determined. We need more will, more desire, more everything."

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