Written by Ross Millen (@RossMillen)
There were mixed emotions at the Vitality Stadium after AFC Bournemouth were held to a draw by newly-promoted Sheffield United, as the curtain raises on the 2019/20 campaign.
Despite taking the lead in the second half through Chris Mepham, a late equalizer from Sheffield United substitute and supporter, Billy Sharp, meant the points had to be shared.
Eddie Howe expressed his disappointment after the match saying: “We’re really frustrated, we didn’t play at our best today, we’re well aware of that but we just didn’t get over the line.
It’s not the ideal start for us
“Two points dropped are massive but we have to respect the point we did get. It’s not the ideal start for us, we have to take our lessons and learn from it quickly.”
Meanwhile Chris Wilder took a different opinion. “I won’t be greedy. I think it was the right result, I think we deserved something from the game, especially the second half.
I thought second half we came out and showed what we were about. We felt it was coming and who do you want floating about in that area? Mr Sheffield United and we’re delighted for him.”
It was the first time Blades boss Chris Wilder had ever managed in the Premier League and the first time many of his players had featured in it too.
“None of these boys have played at this level before and we can’t replicate that in pre-season. It’s a good start for us against a talented side. It will give us a bit of confidence and we’ll grow throughout the season.”
Bournemouth boss Howe gave two players debuts against the Blades, one of which was goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale.
“It was a tough decision, we’ve got four good goalkeepers. I assessed Ramsdale in the training and games and he didn’t concede a goal all pre-season. He played impressively and came back from Wimbledon a better keeper.”
Billing also got a debut for the club after transferring from relegated Huddersfield in the summer. He partnered up with Lerma in the centre of midfield.
“Philip did well, athletically he’s not at his physical peak but he was strong, aerially good, did well on the ball so there’s a lot more to come from him but it’s a great start.”
The Cherries were without several key players including David Brooks and new singings Lloyd Kelly and Arnaut Danjuma.
“We know we’re short on some of the players that have made a big difference for us in previous seasons, but we can’t make excuses.”
Next up for Eddie Howe and his squad is another newly-promoted side, Aston Villa. They suffered a 3-1 defeat to Spurs on the opening day and will be keen to overturn that in what will be a tough test.