MANAGER Eddie Howe felt Cherries had played some of their best football of pre-season during last night’s 3-1 victory over Swansea City.

Marc Pugh’s double and a Brett Pitman penalty saw Cherries down the Premier League outfit who fielded a somewhat weakened team.

Howe said: “It was a good game and I thought we played well. It took us a bit of time to get going but, once we got the first goal, the confidence was evident and we played some really good football in the second half.

“We scored some good goals so it was a good night’s work. It looks like everyone came through unscathed and we gave the players more minutes and good minutes. The lads look very fit so it was pleasing.

“Once we got our confidence, scored the goals and started feeling good about ourselves, I thought some of our football in and around the box was as good as it has been during pre-season. That will give the lads a real boost before next week. With another week’s training to go, where we can just refine certain points, we are quite happy with where we are.

“It was frustrating to concede one and it is not a habit you want to get into. The game was dead and it was disappointing to see but there is still time to work on that.”

Howe said Swansea boss Garry Monk had contacted him to inform him the Welsh club would be fielding only a couple of first-team players due to an injury crisis.

“We wanted as strong a test as we could have had, even if we had been beaten so it was slightly disappointing from that perspective,” said Howe.

“But it is what it is and you can only play what is in front of you. Swansea are still a good side and you could see the philosophy running through their younger players. It was still a good test to get the ball for the first 20 minutes and I thought it was an entertaining battle.”

Discussing today’s trip to Oxford, Cherries’ final pre-season friendly, Howe said: “We have a very strong side to go to Oxford which shows the depth of our squad. I am hoping to see another good performance in what will be a tough game. It will be a totally different game to this one and, in some senses, it will be harder.”