Belfast Telegraph

Simon Francis urges Bournemouth to embrace relegation battle

Simon Francis has challenged Bournemouth to embrace their relegation battle in a bid to climb the Premier League table.

The Cherries were routed 4-0 by Liverpool at Dean Court on Sunday, slipping to a sixth league game without a win.

Philippe Coutinho, Mohamed Salah, Dejan Lovren and Roberto Firmino all scored as Jurgen Klopp's men ran riot on the south coast.

Bournemouth now sit just one point off the drop zone, with Manchester City to face at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday, after Wednesday's Carabao Cup clash at Chelsea.

"I don't think there's any shame in a Premier League relegation battle at all, and Eddie Howe did allude to that," said Francis.

"The sooner we acknowledge we're in and around it, the better.

"That might allow us to show that extra little bit of fight that we need, especially facing those teams in and around us over Christmas and the new year.

"Those are going to massive fixtures for us.

"And I don't think the lads will be complacent, they will realise that, and that's going to be important.

"We weren't sat in the changing rooms feeling unlucky to come away losing by four goals.

"Inconsistency has been the story of our season, inconsistency, and that means you're just not going to get the results you want.

"We were off in far too many parts of our game against Liverpool.

"So it's down to us now as players to pull ourselves together."

Egypt forward Salah became the first Premier League player this season to reach 20 goals in all competitions in another virtuoso showing against the Cherries.

Former Southampton defender Lovren picked out Arsenal recruit Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for special praise however, as Liverpool's forward line ran Bournemouth ragged.

"It was really great to see everyone up front playing well and Alex was brilliant," Lovren told Liverpool's official club website.

"We were concentrated from the beginning, disciplined from the first second, and it was a deserved win. It was really enjoyable.

"They had a couple of chances when we went 2-0 up, but we played really well.

"Even in difficult moments with pressure we had maturity."

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