Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe was delighted with his players’ response as they secured a deserved 2-1 victory over Aston Villa in the Premier League on Saturday.
The south coast side went into the game off the back of consecutive heavy defeats against Tottenham and Manchester City, but took the lead on the stroke of half-time at Villa Park through a clever finish from Steve Cook.
They then doubled their advantage when Josh King capitalised upon a defensive error to bag his sixth goal of the season 16 minutes from time.
Jordan Ayew’s reply for Villa came too late to be anything more than a consolation for the rock-bottom hosts, whose fans again protested against the club’s owner, Randy Lerner, and booed several of their own players.
“It was a really important game for us,” Howe told the Bournemouth website.
“We’ve been disappointed in how we’ve played in the last two games and the importance of the game was reflected in our performance.
“It was a hard game, it was very nervy from both sides, but we dominated the ball without creating many chances.
“It was a toxic atmosphere and we helped to make the game that way as we started well, then we fell off and I think the atmosphere did affect us.
“But the lads kept their heads and it’s another great win for us.”
The victory takes the team past the 40-point mark and all but assures them a second season in the top flight.
And to complete a satisfying afternoon in the Midlands, Callum Wilson was given a late cameo off the bench.
The former Coventry striker had been sidelined since the end of September by a serious knee ligament injury and Howe was delighted to see the 24-year-old back in action.
“It was precious for him and for us, even though it was only a short period,” he said.
“He’s been the model professional and has worked really hard.
“It’s small steps for him and we’re not going to plant him in straight away.
“We need to build him up, but he’s looked good in training and has been a great goalscorer for us last season and the start of this.”
Howe’s men are at home to Liverpool next Sunday.