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Howe recognises issues facing team

Published 20/08/2015

Eddie Howe's Bournemouth have lost both their Premier League matches since winning promotion
Eddie Howe's Bournemouth have lost both their Premier League matches since winning promotion

Eddie Howe accepts that Bournemouth's image could be undermining them during their Barclays Premier League campaign.

The club's remarkable rise from almost exiting the Football League to the Premier League, their attractive brand of football, and Howe's boyish appearance have combined to make them many neutral's favourites.

In Monday's 1-0 defeat by Liverpool, however, captain Tommy Elphick had a header controversially disallowed when he was judged to have fouled Dejan Lovren, and Christian Benteke's goal was given despite Philippe Coutinho being offside.

Bournemouth have lost their only two matches since joining the top division and Howe - though reluctant to encourage a different approach - recognises that greater aggression may have helped their cause.

"We go to these managers' meetings and we're told; 'Don't get in the referee's face, don't swear at the referees, give them the respect they deserve', and I'm a firm believer that you respect the official and you respect the decision," the Bournemouth manager said.

"But then you're accused, when you don't get the decisions, of being too nice. You're not going to change the decision, that's for sure. By surrounding the referee you're not going to change his mind, I was surprised (referee Craig Pawson) gave the free-kick against Tommy Elphick in the first place. For me, even live, it was a goal, there was no problem.

"So I'm not going to have my players chasing referees and we end up getting big fines. I do think potentially we could have made more of (Elphick's disallowed effort), it may have had a difference with the offside (for Benteke's goal), who knows?

"But I don't think you change decisions, I haven't seen too many changed in my time.

"You can't say what you truly feel, you end up with fines and suspensions and that's not right in bringing the club's name into areas that you don't want.

"We just hope that the officials get the big decisions right, that's all we can ask. And I'm sure the referees, as well, want a fair game, and decisions based on merit."

Howe, 37, had earlier dismissed reports that Bournemouth hope to sign Sunderland striker Jermain Defoe.

The former England international's background and likely wages are considerably different to any of those at the club but while other Premier League managers have previously gambled on big-named signings and consequently disrupted their dressing rooms, Howe has ruled out recruiting players with contrasting profiles to those he already has.

"It's important (potential signings) fit the philosophy of the club, which is all about hard work and self-improvement, and striving to do better, week-in, week-out," said Howe.

"It's important any player we bring in shares that mentality. Rather than looking at it in any other way, we will go for the best player we can with the money that we have available, but they do have to have the right characteristics and mentality to join this group, so that's the challenge in front of us.

"Every manager will tell you the same thing: the harmony in the changing room, the camaraderie between the group is so important."

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