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AFC Bournemouth: Back to basics for Howe's squad
Only Millwall have conceded more goals in the Championship this season with Cherries having shipped no fewer than 50 in 30 games.
Despite keeping three clean sheets in their first seven matches, Cherries’ goal difference also took a hammering during the early stages with half of the tally coming in their opening 12 games.
Cherries’ backline is tomorrow likely to face a stern examination when they meet Derby at Pride Park – with the Rams boasting the best offensive record in the division.
Howe, who has seen Cherries keep just one clean sheet in their past 23 league games, told the Daily Echo: “You have to defend well against the top sides and you have to get the basics right. Apart from the goal against Burnley, we did well against them.
“We have done some hard work in training on the basic principles this week and, hopefully, that will show in our performance.
“We know we have to keep more clean sheets. I think we have defended well in recent games and certainly been a lot tighter. But our defensive record is something that is an obvious area where we can improve so that is what we will be looking to do.
“I think it is a consequence of various factors, like being a new team, how we try to play and the early games. We took a couple of heavy beatings and there is no denying they have played a part in our record. If you add together all these things, this is why we have ended up where we have.
“We are a very attacking team, whether home or away, and we try to take the game to the opposition. That is how we want the game to be played and, as a consequence, our defensive record has taken a bit of a knock.”
Asked whether he had considered compromising Cherries’ style of play to combat the defensive record, Howe replied: “We would never deviate from our principles because I think it would be foolish to do so.
“You do a lot of hard work and you play a certain way for a long period of time which brings you a lot of success in a lower league.
“The temptation through the tough times in a higher league is to sacrifice that and go a totally different way.
“That is not what we are going to do. Our job is to try to do better what we do and that is to be technically better on the ball and make better decisions. That is what we are working towards.”