EDDIE Howe admitted he feared Joshua King had been concussed following a challenge from Middlesbrough goalkeeper Victor Valdes – which went unpunished by the referee.

During the first half of Cherries' 2-0 defeat to Boro at Riverside Stadium on Saturday, Norway international King chased a lofted through ball from Jack Wilshere in a vain attempt to make a breakthrough.

However, former Barcelona stopper Valdes got there first and punched clear, only for his momentum to result in his right knee making hefty contact with the head of King, leaving the Cherries attacker flat out in the penalty area.

Whistler Stuart Attwell saw nothing wrong with Valdes's actions and after a couple of minutes, King was deemed fit enough to resume. However, Cherries boss Howe admitted his concern over the former Blackburn man's welfare had initially been substantial.

Asked if he felt the incident merited a penalty, Howe told the Daily Echo: "I'm not sure, it looked a nasty one. The main thing was that Joshua got up and was able to continue.

"It did look like he could be concussed or that there could be some damage there.

"I thought Joshua had a couple of really good moments in the game and did well, so I was just pleased to see him back on his feet."

King had minutes earlier been denied by Valdes in spectacular style, the Spaniard tipping the latter's volleyed effort on to the bar.

Substitute Benik Afobe also hit the woodwork but goals from Gaston Ramirez and Stewart Downing either side of the interval handed the hosts victory.

Howe continued: "I've been very critical of the performance but in saying that, we still had chances to win.

"We hit the bar twice and the goalkeeper made a very good save on the first one of those chances. We had a shot cleared off the line and Benik had a one-on-one, so we had chances but didn't take them.

"Our usual speed of play and the way we manipulate the ball around the pitch was not at the usual tempo. The way I look at games and performances is that you get what you deserve and I don't think we deserved any more than we got.

"Games can change on goals and moments but overall we have to be disappointed as we set such high standards for ourselves."

Howe admitted his team would have to up their game away from home after once more missing out on victory on their travels. Cherries are yet to secure an away victory in the Premier League this term in five attempts.

The boss added: "I don't think it's great when you are not winning or picking up points away from home.

"It's really surprising because last year we were really good on the road, not just in our performances but in our results as well.

"It hasn't quite happened yet. It's still early days but as much as our home form has been very strong, we want to balance that out and pick up points away as well."