AFC Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe felt his players showed they have the quality to compete in the Premier League during the second half of their 2-0 south-coast derby loss to Southampton.
Bournemouth headed into the match having conceded five goals in each of their previous two top-flight defeats to Manchester City and Tottenham.
And two first-half goals in the space of five minutes from Steven Davis and Graziano Pelle suggested the could be on the end on another thrashing.
But the half-time introduction of Josh King and Junior Stanislas introduced much-needed pace and vibrancy to the visiting attack, with Southampton midfielder Victor Wanyama sent off in the 78th minute for a second booking as the pressure grew on the hosts.
Ultimately, Howe’s men lacked badly for cutting edge and they lie a point and a place above the relegation zone, although the former Burnley boss remains keen to focus on the positives.
“I think, technically, we showed that we can compete at this level,” Howe told Sky Sports.
“Some of our passing and moving was of a very high level and I think we need to stick to our strengths and obviously eradicate the mistakes and work on the areas that we need to.
“There are positives to take, although it’s difficult in defeat to see that.
“The second half was everything we wanted the first-half to be. We were well off the pace in the first-half.
“Southampton played very well and made it difficult for us to get close to them. It was the total reverse in the second half.
“The only thing missing from our performance, obviously, was the goals.”