Bournemouth draw feels like a defeat, says Ruben Loftus-Cheek
Palace led 2-1 until Joshua King’s equaliser earned Bournemouth a point at the Vitality Stadium.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek revealed Crystal Palace’s 2-2 draw at Bournemouth felt “like a defeat” but relished making his first start of 2018.
Palace had led until the 89th minute – goals from Luka Milivojevic and Wilfried Zaha came either side of Bournemouth’s from Lys Mousset – when Joshua King’s finish denied them three vital points.
Instead of climbing five points clear of the bottom three, they remain 17th and at threat of relegation, and the 22-year-old Loftus-Cheek told his club’s official website: “We are all frustrated as it feels like a defeat.
“We did really well in spells of the game and they didn’t really cause too many problems so to come away with only a draw feels like a loss so we are going to have to pick ourselves up and go again.
“We can’t really complain too much because we had chances and if we put them away the contest is dead and we can shut up shop, but that’s it, if you don’t take them then the opposition have always got a chance to get back in the game.
“Two quality goals, but unfortunately another late one against which is reoccurring, which could be a lack of concentration from the boys which we need to get right but we know we still have a few games left to get as many points as possible.”
Loftus-Cheek’s return to first-team football – an ankle injury had restricted him to only two substitute appearances since his most recent start against Arsenal in December – means he is also again in contention for a place in England’s World Cup squad.
“I am buzzing about (returning) after a long while out and it was tough mentally for me but I really enjoyed being back out on the pitch and even though it was a tough 90 minutes it’s great to be back,” he said.
“It was an injury that I didn’t think was too bad until I got a few scans and knew I chipped a bone in my ankle which was devastating for me as I was doing so well for Palace and getting the England chance, but that’s football and it’s about mental strength so I will forget that and get on with what’s ahead.”
As in last week’s 2-2 draw with Watford, Bournemouth secured a point with another late goal, but they have conceded in each of their past eight matches and their manager Eddie Howe – once a central defender – said: “I feel for our defence at the moment. Steve Cook and Nathan Ake have done really well recently but we’ve had no clean sheet. That’s an area to improve.
“The comeback says lots about the attitude of our players and team. The players want to go the extra mile, I don’t think we’ve ever lost that and I think its shone again.”