AFC Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe said he and his team are still not safe from the threat of relegation after the 3-1 home loss against Burnley.
The Cherries enjoyed a fast start at Vitality Stadium before a two-minute turnaround from the Clarets saw them lose the lead.
Ashley Barnes scored another in the second half to condemn Bournemouth to a fifth home loss this season. The result means the Cherries have only won one in the last nine.
All three goals stemmed from huge defensive errors, including two from keeper Asmir Begovic.
And manager Howe was frustrated after the match, insisting his team could still get relegated.
Howe stormed: “I don’t know how many times I’ve got to say ‘we are not safe’. I don’t consider myself safe, and on our holidays, and the players are absolutely the same. Our run of form has not been good enough of late and we’re desperate to turn that around.
“We’re a little bit low in confidence at the moment, because of a number of different factors. The run of results we’ve had, the number of injuries we’ve had this season. That could possibly be the cause [of the drop in form] rather than the fact we consider ourselves safe in the division for next year.”
Howe says he still firmly believes the threat of relegation still looms. “Until someone says we’re mathematically safe, that will still be the case. You can not take liberties in this game – this game has a way of coming back and biting you when you become complacent. I can honestly say to everyone we haven’t done that. And we won’t do that.
“Results and performances haven’t been good. As the head of the team I have to take responsibility for that. It’s not for the want of trying, it’s not for the want of giving everything everyday to make that happen”
However, the boss maintains things could look up soon. “I’ve been in football long enough to know it will change. You make your own luck and we’ve got to do that very quickly.”
On the manner of the three goals, Howe again looked frustrated. He said: “You can’t make those types of errors against a team like Burnley. They do what they do very well. You know it’s going to come. You know what they’re going to do and we had to deal with it better.
“We didn’t, we made individual mistakes for which we have to take collective responsibility and try and come back better next week.”
The manner of Bournemouth’s play, especially in a toothless second half, also worried Howe.
He said pensively: “I think the big disappointment today is the second half. You expected us to really turn the screw and build pressure and try to pen them in. But that pressure didn’t really come so I think that’s the biggest disappointment.
“We expected to try and build pressure and, the fact we were chasing the game, try to pin Burnley in. But we made too many bad decisions on the ball in that period in the second half. We went too long in our buildup play and ended up turning possession over.
“Every restart, every goal kick is a ball we had to defend and we didn’t do it well enough.”
The Cherries boss was very frank in his assessment of how his side played. He credited the Cherries’ opponents for capitalising on Bournemouth’s mistakes, saying: “You always have to give credit to the opposition. I’m the first to do that and Burnley did what they do very well today. I thought their front two were a real handful for us.
Another frank admission of his side’s inabilities followed. “I’m not concerned with Burnley, I’m concerned with us. I know we have to do better.”
And as another Premier League season looms to an end, Bournemouth will have to do better to prove they deserve to stay in the division. They may not be mathematically safe, but the threat of relegation will not be as concerning as the stark decline in performances. And the Bournemouth manager knows that.
Written by Akshay Kulkarni (@ImpatientPedant)