ASMIR Begovic knows a potentially-defining December could prove crucial for Cherries as they prepare to embark on a key period of the campaign.

Cherries face a punishing schedule of eight games in the month, starting with Sunday’s visit of Southampton and a trip to Crystal Palace six days later.

They visit Manchester United on December 13 before hosting Liverpool four days later.

The run continues with a trip to Chelsea in the Carabao Cup before Eddie Howe’s team meet Manchester City, West Ham and Everton over the festive period.

Begovic told the Daily Echo: “Overall, it was a good November for us. We need to take the positives into a huge December and Christmas is the defining part of any season.

“One result changes a lot of things, it’s a very tight bottom half of the league. We just have to crack on and get a positive result on Sunday, especially for the fans.

“It’s a big game and a big period coming up for us.”

Begovic had gone the entire month of November without conceding prior to Wednesday’s 2-1 home defeat to Burnley.

And he was disappointed to see his record-breaking three-game run of shutouts come to an end.

He added: “Any time you lose at home, it is tough to take.

“For 70 minutes, we probably weren’t quite at the levels we wanted to be. We finished the game off well but it was too little too late.”

Asked what he felt had been lacking, he replied: “Energy, quality and competing for second balls.

“It was just little things like that which made the difference and we hope to improve on that on Sunday.

“We can get the Burnley game out of our system really quickly and hopefully put things right.

“If we are on our game, on our tempo and playing the way we want to play, we will put on a better performance.

“Maybe we need the occasion to help us with that, so hopefully we can be at it from the start.”

The 30-year-old initially made his name at Portsmouth before moving on to Stoke, Chelsea and Cherries.

Asked whether he anticipated a hot reception from Saints fans, Begovic replied: “There’s a little bit of stick but that’s part and parcel of the game from my Portsmouth days.

“I will just take it as it comes and not really look too much into it.

“It’s part of being a goalkeeper and the fans are going to be like that, it’s cool and it doesn’t bother me.”

The Bosnian stopper has not missed a minute of Premier League action this season as 14 points from as many games mean Howe’s men are 15th in the top flight.