EDDIE Howe delivered an eve-of-season manager’s message and urged Cherries supporters: “We need you more than ever now.”

Howe will guide Cherries during their fourth campaign in the Premier League, starting with the visit of promoted Cardiff on Saturday.

The 40-year-old, now the longest-serving manager in the top flight, has seen Cherries finish 16th, ninth and 12th in their first three seasons.

Giving his message exclusively to the Daily Echo, Howe said: “I don’t think it changes season upon season – please back the team through thick and thin, the good times and the bad.

“We need the supporters the same as we always have but probably more than ever now because expectation levels inside and outside the club rise all the time.

“All I can ask them is just to have their unconditional support, as we know we have always had previously.”

Promoted three times under Howe, last season was the first time Cherries had failed to improve their finishing position during his two spells at the helm.

And while this was viewed as a disappointment by some fans, others saw preserving their top-flight status for a fourth successive year as a continuing triumph.

Howe added: “It is human nature when you finish ninth, you want to finish higher the following season.

“And when you finish 12th, you want to finish higher and I think that will be in everyone’s head.

“But for us, looking at league positions is a waste of time and energy. We have to focus on our performances and make sure we are improving as a team every single day.

“All we can control is what we deliver on the training ground and then in the matches so my focus is very much on the work.

“The players need an environment where they can excel so they need the right noises made inside the stadium.

“As long as they are giving 100 per cent – which I will do my very best to enforce – hopefully the supporters will follow that with the noise that encourages them to give even more.”

Howe believes his squad is fully prepared for the Premier League following an exacting pre-season scheduled which saw them close with an emphatic 5-2 win over Ligue I outfit Marseille.

He added: “We looked at the pre-season fixtures once we had lined them up and knew they would be tough.

“There were no easy games in the schedule and I think we have done really well when you consider the opposition we have been up against.

“We have been tested and stretched and there have been games that have not gone as we would have liked.

“But that is all part of the process and that is what you want during pre-season. If everything goes your way then possibly you haven’t been tested enough. I think the players are now ready for the Premier League and the extreme test that it is.”