BOSS Eddie Howe admitted his trio of substitutes had given him plenty to ponder following Cherries’ indifferent showing against Burnley.

Lewis Cook, Ryan Fraser and Jermain Defoe all came off the bench to spark Cherries as they looked to claw their way back into the contest.

However, despite having a hand in Joshua King’s goal, they were unable to further repair the damage as Howe’s team slipped to a 2-1 defeat.

Cook replaced Harry Arter and Defoe came on for Marc Pugh as Cherries trailed 1-0 before Fraser was introduced for Jordon Ibe after Robbie Brady had doubled the visitors’ lead.

Midfielder Cook caught the eye during his 32-minute run-out and could be in contention for a start when Cherries host Southampton on Sunday (1.30pm).

Howe said: “The substitutes did very well. Lewis Cook came on and gave us a real lift and Ryan Fraser and Jermain Defoe also played their part.

“The final 20 minutes were the brightest part of the game for us.

“When we scored, you felt that maybe we could lay siege to their goal and really turn the screw.

“We didn’t really do that but we had our best moments and had the ball for the majority of that time.

“If we are looking for a positive, it was the way we finished and the impact of the substitutes but, overall, it was hugely disappointing.

“You have to judge game by game and can’t go back too far when you are looking at players’ performances individually.

“We were below what we are capable of, probably from one to 11 in the starting line-up.

“The substitutes will feel they had a positive impact so that gives me food for thought for the next game.”

Asked whether he felt if the visit of neighbours Southampton would give Cherries an opportunity to respond, Howe replied: “I hope so. I hope there will be a really good atmosphere and we can really get going.

“I felt for the fans against Burnley because we didn’t give them anything at all to get behind.

“As the home team, you have to set out your stall and really give your fans a platform to get involved. We didn’t so I felt for them watching it.”

Despite the defeat, Cherries remained four points above the drop zone and three behind Southampton following their dramatic 2-1 reverse at leaders Manchester City.

Asked whether no damage having been done in the table was scant consolation, Howe replied: “It is because there are always difficult fixtures to come in the Premier League.

“We need to pick up points in games where we feel we have a chance to do that. We go into every game hoping we can win and hoping we perform. The disappointing thing for me was the performance and the manner of the defeat.”