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Eddie Howe vows to remain grounded as Bournemouth close in on top-10 finish


Eddie Howe has led Bournemouth to another impressive season

Eddie Howe has led Bournemouth to another impressive season

Eddie Howe has led Bournemouth to another impressive season

Eddie Howe refused to label Bournemouth as an established Premier League club after a 2-1 win over Burnley saw them guarantee their highest points tally in the top-flight.

Junior Stanislas gave the hosts the lead in the first half but Sam Vokes looked to have stolen a point which would have mathematically secured Burnley's Premier League safety when he headed the Clarets level with seven minutes remaining.

Josh King's 16th league goal of the campaign soon followed though and fired Howe's men into the top 10.

A draw in next weekend's season finale at Leicester would see the Cherries finish above last season's Premier League champions.

Having flirted with relegation in their maiden season in the top-flight last year, the Cherries have proven the sceptics wrong again.

Howe, however, is not looking too far ahead and believes his side are still a work in progress.

"I'm not going to use those words, I think it's a very dangerous thing to say," Howe said of the suggestion Bournemouth are now established in the elite.

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"I'm very level-headed, I believe in the players so much, I believe we're capable of great things but we still have to prove that and if we were to drop our standards by a small percentage then it would be very difficult.

"But you are right in one sense. I think the next stage for the club is to improve the stadium, the training ground, the academy, to try and improve things that are so important to the lifeblood of the football club."

Another positive from this season is the soaring form of striker King.

Late goals against the likes of Sunderland and Liverpool and a hat-trick against West Ham have illustrated the vast improvement in the Norway international's fitness since his arrival from Blackburn two years ago, something which Howe acknowledged.

Howe added: "I think it's testament to the boy's fitness levels. With the way that we play, and what we ask from our players, especially our front players, for him to have scored those late goals, that's one big thing he has improved from when he first joined - his fitness levels.

"I wouldn't say his attitude (has changed). His attitude since day one when we worked with him was excellent, we really believed from then that he had the potential to be anything. Everything is there, it was just a case of showing it. "

Burnley boss Sean Dyche felt his side were below their best because some felt the pressure was off after hitting 40 points.

The Clarets reached the points target with a 2-2 draw against West Brom last week, to all but secure their safety.

Dyche said: "I don't want to be hyper-critical on the players because they've had some really big games, really important games lately.

"And to get to that 40-point mark, there was a big sigh of relief, the tension was building. So there was a bit of flatness from the players, particularly in the second half.

"Two really poor goals we gave away, especially the second one, the first one can happen but the second was a really poor goal.

"We got a fine goal, I thought Vokesy was excellent again today. I thought both centre-forwards were the best players on the pitch. I'm disappointed in the end but with the season we've had, it's hard to question this group."

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