A DEFIANT Eddie Howe promised Cherries would emerge a “better team” from their ongoing mini-slump, which continued with a 6-3 hammering at Everton on Saturday.

Howe’s side have won once in eight Premier League games, a run which has seen them plunge from a historical high of eighth in the top flight down to 14th – just six points above the relegation zone.

But despite seeing his team concede 22 goals in that period – and 31 in their past 12 Premier League games – Howe is adamant he will not abandon his footballing principles.

Rather, Cherries boss has unwavering faith in his players’ ability to recover the form which had them hitting the heights before Christmas.

“We’ll keep playing that way and come out the other side a better team for the experience,” said Howe.

“I believe in the players and I believe in our work.

“We’ve been here many times before, in situations like this, and we’ve always come out the other side. I believe we will again.”

Cherries were behind the eight-ball within 30 seconds at Goodison Park. That is how long it took Romelu Lukaku to score Everton’s opener.

Although the hosts struck twice more before the break, Howe refuted the idea his team had subsided after going behind.

He did, though, accept that such a dreadful start had blown a massive hole in Cherries' game plan, which saw them line up with a three-man defence.

“We couldn’t believe it, really,” said Howe. “We had spoken about certain things and set up a certain way, then it made it very difficult from that moment onwards.

“Naturally the players thought ‘here we go again’, because of our recent performances and how we’ve conceded goals.

“I don’t think we caved in. It was a difficult first half but we showed a lot of spirit in the second half to come back – the game was on a knife edge at 3-2.

“The fourth goal was hugely disappointing because at that moment we felt we could win the game.”

Howe, who revealed a calf injury had kept Adam Smith out of Cherries' trip to Merseyside, found plenty of encouragement in his side’s second-half revival.

Joshua King scored twice to drag Cherries to the brink of a remarkable comeback. Ultimately, however, Lukaku killed the game with his team’s fourth goal, before Everton stretched away in the closing stages.

“I felt in the whole game there were no problems with the lads’ application,” added Howe.

“Obviously, you can question certain aspects of the game.

“The one thing we pride ourselves on is having a team that is committed and gives everything to the cause.

“But things aren’t going our way and that’s where we need to be very strong mentally and come back from this.”

Howe nevertheless conceded his players' dwindling confidence would have been further sapped by events at Goodison Park.

“Of course, yes (confidence will have been hit),” added Howe. “But I don’t want to sit here and be negative, there’s no point.”