Bournemouth’s poor record against Manchester City is inspiring Eddie Howe to oversee an improvement and he believes halting Raheem Sterling will be vital to avoiding defeat.
The Cherries won promotion to the Premier League under Howe in 2015, yet they have never beaten City in the competition, losing all eight of their top-flight meetings by an aggregate score of 25-3.
But Howe says Bournemouth’s dismal recent history in this fixture – with City set to visit on Sunday – does not cause him concern, instead providing a motivating factor.
“It inspires me,” Howe told a news conference. “We’ve got to try to turn that around and use that record to inspire us in this game.
“I don’t think we’re the only team to suffer a bad record against Manchester City in recent years.
“They’re an outstanding team and, every time we’ve played against them, we’ve come off the pitch learning more about ourselves and what we have to do to grow and become better.
“We try to embrace these challenges and not look at it fearfully.
“I think the two games against them last season were pretty strong [3-0 and 1-0 defeats]. We felt we were competitive without showing our best attributes, but we managed to limit their main strengths for spells of the games.
— AFC Bournemouth (@afcbournemouth) August 23, 2019
“They’ve just got quality and they can hurt you in any moment of the game and we’ve just come on the wrong side of the games against them, but I’d like to think we’re getting closer.
“We know historically that, if we perform at our very best, we’ve got a chance of beating anybody and I think that’s been the story of our Premier League journey.”
Sterling has been a particularly problematic figure for Bournemouth, netting eight goals in seven meetings, along with a pair of assists.
The England forward hit the first Premier League hat-trick of his career in his first match against Bournemouth in 2015 and has since developed into a proven lscorer, netting four times in his opening two league games this term.
Howe said: “He’s a player who’s done very well against us in recent seasons and he’s an outstanding talent.
“He’s added a huge consistent run of goals to his game, which has made him even better, and he’s certainly someone who we’ll have to keep quiet.
“You look through their team though and they’ve got other players in the attacking positions that you’re going to have to deal with, but we hope to keep him quiet and nullify his strengths. He’s certainly in very good form at the moment.”
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