AFC Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe expressed disappointment over his side’s failure to recover from conceding an early goal in their 3-1 defeat to Stoke City on Saturday.
Despite enjoying plenty of possession during the opening exchanges, hosts Bournemouth fell behind after just nine minutes when Giannelli Imbula opened his Premier League account with an impressive volley.
Ibrahim Afellay and substitute Joselu netted two second-half goals in three minutes to seal the win, although Matt Ritchie did come off the bench to score an impressive consolation.
And Howe admitted: “It was a difficult game for us.
“We started really brightly and then they scored a superb goal out of nowhere. From my perspective, that dented our confidence – we never recaptured our fluency after that.
“We had had all of the ball and been camped in their half. That was the first time they had ventured into our half and they really showed their quality.”
The defeat is a blow to Bournemouth’s Premier League survival ambitions, with the Cherries now sitting four points above the relegation zone.
But Howe insists there is still plenty of fight within his side, who have only won three league games at the Vitality Stadium all season.
“Credit to the players for still playing the same way and trying to get a positive outcome,” he added.
“That doesn’t surprise me, though, given the group that we have. Now we have the task of responding very quickly and positively next week.”