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Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe hopes to upset the odds against Man City

Eddie Howe hopes a lack of expectation can help struggling Bournemouth spring a surprise at runaway leaders Manchester City.

The out-of-form Cherries travel to the Etihad Stadium without a win in six Premier League games and having been knocked out of the Carabao Cup in midweek.

Pep Guardiola's unbeaten City, by contrast, scraped through to the semi-finals of the cup competition on Tuesday and are on a record-breaking 16-game winning streak in the league which has seen them build an 11-point lead over second-placed rivals Manchester United.

Despite the odds of success on Saturday being heavily stacked against his team, Bournemouth boss Howe insists his players must approach the game with optimism.

"We've always looked at the bigger challenges as being better for us, and the underdog tag I think suits us," he said at his pre-match press conference.

"We don't have too much pressure on us and we can go and be ourselves without the burden of the expectancy in terms of getting a result.

"Some teams have run them very close and Man City have had to dig deep at times. That's what gives us belief that we can go there and get a result."

City's impressive run of victories began with a narrow 2-1 success over Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium on August 26.

They needed an injury-time winner from winger Raheem Sterling in that game and Howe feels his side can take belief from the display they produced.

"The home game here this season was the closest we've got to them - maybe we'll need something like that again, but we take confidence from that performance," Howe added.

"They're playing with extreme confidence at the moment and all credit to them for the way they are doing.

"You need to work out a defensive strategy to nullify their threats but one which also leaves you with an attacking plan. We'll think long and hard before we finalise our game plan."

Bournemouth's return of three points from their last six games has left them just a point above the bottom three.

Howe admitted they were in a relegation scrap following last weekend's 4-0 hammering by Liverpool and he remains worried about their current predicament.

"We are concerned, when you're in the Premier League and not getting points it's a tough and brutal league, there's no breather from it," he said.

"The key is that we stay united and focused, this run will change and once it does we have confidence that we have a really good team and can push on."

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