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AFC Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe: We were beaten by the better team
Rovers ruthlessly claimed victory at Dean Court this afternoon after laying the foundations with a highly impressive attacking display in the opening 45 minutes.
Leon Best crossed for Blackburn’s ace marksman Jordan Rhodes to brilliantly head the visitors into a 10th-minute lead.
Former Cherries loan man Best doubled the advantage on 24 minutes before hotshot Rhodes coolly converted from the penalty spot after Tommy Elphick had felled the game’s stand-out player Josh King.
Things got worse for Cherries when Richard Hughes was sent off for two bookable offences, but the hosts rallied well and got a deserved consolation through Ryan Fraser’s first league goal in professional football.
Howe saw Shaun MacDonald limp off with a suspected knee problem, adding to concerns over injured trio Matt Ritchie, Charlie Daniels and Harry Arter.
But when asked about the injury list, Howe told the Daily Echo: “I don’t think you can use that as an excuse.
“Coming into this game, we had got four points from two games with near enough the same players at Middlesbrough and against Barnsley at home in tough fixtures.
“Today, we were beaten by the better team. I don’t think you can argue with that. They were better than us in the first half.
“They had very clinical players – good players in the final third – and caused us problems. Sometimes, you have got to hold up your hands and say ‘They were better than us today’.
“What we will endeavour to do is come back, be better and improve.”
Asked where things had done wrong in the first half, Howe told the media: “It was a combination of things.
“I think you have to look at who we were playing and the quality of the opposition – that can’t be dismissed. But even so, looking at ourselves, we know we can do better than that.
“From pretty early in the game, a couple of attacks broke down and we just seemed to lose our way from that and lose our belief in what we were doing, which was strange because you would always say that is one of our strengths.
“It would have been easy to feel sorry for ourselves at 3-0 down at home with a mountain to climb, and we spoke about it at half-time.
“But the response from the players was very good and, in the second half, that was the Bournemouth team I am used to watching, so we are not downhearted.
“We were beaten today but we look forward now and we can’t dwell on it.”
Meanwhile, Howe criticised referee Rob Lewis for his decision to give Hughes the first of the midfielder’s two bookings.
“I thought the first one was never a yellow card and I thought it was a really poor decision from the referee, probably his poorest decision of the game,” said Howe.
“Richard probably, in hindsight, will regret having gone in for the second challenge. He went for the ball and probably mis-timed it and probably deserved a yellow.
“It did leave us in a really vulnerable position at 3-0 down and with 10 men with a long period of the game left. That is where our players deserve huge credit for the way they reacted to that situation.”
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