BOSS Eddie Howe and midfielder Harry Arter both refused to use as an excuse for Cherries’ defeat at Charlton the state of the playing surface.

The pitch, which appeared to have been heavily watered ahead of kick-off, was in a poor condition and had a number of bare patches.

Howe said: “It was certainly not ideal, especially for our brand of football. You can warn players and prepare for it but, ultimately, there isn’t a lot you can do. We can’t change the way we play because our players aren’t built for it so we had to try to manage it as best we could.”

And Arter added: “If we had won, we probably wouldn’t have mentioned it but the surface wasn’t great at all.

“It was probably one of the worst pitches I had played on throughout my career and that is probably going down to Conference South level.

“It was a poor pitch and it is a shame pitches get to that state at this time of year but I am sure it was just down to the weather. It didn’t make for a great spectacle and I am sure it wasn’t the best game to watch.”

Meanwhile, boss Howe confirmed winger Matt Ritchie had been unavailable for the trip to The Valley due to illness.