by Dan Davis (@dan_davis20)
Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe rued another ‘tough afternoon’ after his side were eliminated from the FA Cup third round by Brighton.
The Seagulls emerged comfortable victors at Vitality Stadium, after goals from Anthony Knockaert, Yves Bissouma and Florin Andone fired the visitors to victory against their south coast rivals.
Marc Pugh bagged the consolation goal for Cherries, who suffered their third consecutive elimination in the third round of the competition.
When reflecting on another punishing defeat for his side, Howe explained:
“It follows a pattern of recent weeks really, where for 25-30 minutes I thought we were the better team, but probably didn’t break them down well enough and ask questions of their goalkeeper.
“We were fine in the game, and then suddenly they score their first shot on target and then because of that we wobble a little bit, concede again and from that moment it’s a tough afternoon.”
Despite the dominating scoreline for Brighton, Cherries could have taken the lead on 28 minutes after a deflection fell kindly into the path of the unmarked Lys Mousset.
But the Frenchman could only skew his strike from 12 yards horribly over the crossbar, and two minutes later the visitors had taken the lead.
“The games always swing on small moments,” Howe said. “We hadn’t created an abundance of chances, but the one that came just before their goal was a key moment in the match.
“That’s just been us recently, we haven’t been clinical one end, we haven’t maximised our chances and we’ve been easy to score against in the other.
“That’s something we’re going to go away and work on, on the training ground, for the first time in a long time to try and put things right.”
The clash also saw loanee Nathaniel Clyne make his debut, less than 24 hours after signing until the end of the season from Liverpool. The full-back delivered an impressive performance from right-back, and his manager heaped praise on the 27-year-old.
Howe said: “Good performance from Nathaniel. It’s very difficult when you come in and haven’t had a training session with your teammates, but he fitted in well.
“He learned on the job about how we play and defensively he was excellent.”
The home side boasted nine alterations to the starting XI that had thrilled spectators in a 3-3 stalemate with Watford in midweek, with only Steve Cook and Ryan Fraser retaining their places.
Youngster Kyle Taylor was also handed his first senior start for Cherries.
When questioned about the relationships between players, many of whom rarely start in the Premier League, Howe admitted: “I think you always learn in every game. It’s difficult, because everyone’s learning on the job in terms of building relationships, probably for the first time on the pitch, but there’s no excuses.
“They were the same, they made changes, and we just weren’t good enough at both ends of the pitch today.”