EDDIE Howe insisted he had become accustomed to sacrificing his birthday plans in a bid to keep up with the Premier League’s intensity.

The Cherries boss yesterday celebrated his 41st birthday but admitted any festivities had been low key ahead of tomorrow’s showdown at Manchester City (3pm).

Still the youngest boss in the top flight, Howe stepped into management at the age of 31 with the Dorset club second from bottom of the Football League.

Almost a decade on, Howe will aim to mastermind Cherries’ first Premier League victory over the reigning champions.

Asked whether putting aside special occasions had been tough over the years, he told the Daily Echo: “It’s something you become accustomed to.

“When you start playing football at a serious level, you go into the youth team and they are not really important days. The most important thing is the season and moment.

“Maybe one day it will be different and you will get used to celebrating those things. For me it is just another day, I had some nice birthday wishes from a lot of people and I appreciated that but it’s all about the game.

“I had a nice birthday cake and my two boys and wife were very good to me – apart from that it was business as usual.

“They would expect no different from me to be honest – anything different would be more of a surprise the other way round.”

When the Cherries boss first stepped into management, he was younger than the current ages of stars Charlie Daniels, Andrew Surman, Simon Francis and Jermain Defoe – all of which could line up at Etihad Stadium.

“A lot was made of my age when I first came into management,” said Howe.

“It was probably the only question I got for four or five years. Those questions have slowly slipped away, so the fact I have had one is actually quite refreshing!

“It gets harder to adjust to as you get older, you want to remain forever young and unfortunately I’m not.

“I didn’t know I was the youngest manager in the Premier League. When you do the job you are just consumed by it and don’t focus on age or anything like that.

“Winning is everything in this job and that’s what we are trying to do, that (against City) would be a great moment.”

Defending champions City top the table with 11 victories out of 13 games this season, scoring 40 goals in the process.

Asked whether Pep Guardiola’s side had improved further, Howe replied: “I’d say they have probably gone on again. Credit to the manager for that and their players.

“They are scoring goals in huge numbers. Defensively they have probably looked more solid than ever, so that is a good mix for them to start with.

“They are playing with supreme confidence levels but, in terms of performances and results, we are probably in our best shape. Let’s hope we can fully justify that with our performance.”