Eddie Howe acknowledged that a touch of class bought his AFC Bournemouth side’s six-match unbeaten run to an end in the 2-0 loss at Arsenal.
The impressive streak, including wins over Chelsea and Manchester United, has pulled Bournemouth away from the relegation places over recent weeks and they made a confident start at Emirates Stadium.
But some slack set-piece defending allowed Arsenal to edge ahead through a Gabriel header in the 27th minute.
While Howe was willing to rue that lapse, he praised a wonderful second goal for Arsenal, where the excellent Mesut Ozil glided on to Olivier Giroud’s flicked return pass to clinically sidefoot home.
“I felt we were well in the game in the first half,” Howe told reporters.
“We started very brightly, but after we conceded there was a slight wobble up until half-time.
“Then their second goal was a goal of great quality and that has ended the game for us.”
Howe praised winger Junior Stanislas, who came on as a half-time substitute during the defeat.
“I think Junior did very well when he came on,” he said.
“He carried on his recent run of great form and I think gave us an extra impetus going forward.
“We just had to protect one or two of our players because we’ve had a lot of games in a short period of time. We have to keep clear of any more injuries.”