EDDIE Howe has urged his Cherries stars to prove they are the real deal.

Cherries gave a lacklustre display in their 2-0 defeat at relegation-battlers Cardiff City on Saturday, three days after hammering big guns Chelsea 4-0 at Vitality Stadium.

The Dorset side had been bidding for a third straight win – having last achieved that feat four months ago – but were undone by a Bobby Reid double.

Howe admitted “the mental side had a huge bearing” on the result and vowed to act quickly to find a solution for upcoming fixtures.

He said: “We have had some really good runs and given performances where we have looked the real deal and then have produced a performance where we fell away from that.

“It’s about trying to work out why that happens.

“Is it because the players aren’t good enough? No. So it can only be a mentality issue and that is something we have to solve very quickly.

“We have to find the answers and a lot of that is going to be with our mindset going into matches and how we prepare.

“Today we didn’t get it quite right.”

Striker Dominic Solanke made his Cherries debut at Cardiff City Stadium having recovered from a hamstring injury following his move from Liverpool last month.

Solanke, who had not played in the Premier League for nine months, had limited service and had just one touch of the ball in the opposition penalty area.

Asked to assess the 21-year-old’s performance, Howe said: “I thought Dominic did okay.

“It was a difficult game for him to play in with the team not performing as well as we would have liked.

“There were some good bits from him and some bits we will look to improve.

“It’s good that he played and got a feel of what it is like to play for Bournemouth.

“He has shown a good attitude. Technically, he is a good player. He will get goals if we get the ball into him in the right areas.

“I’m excited to really get into him and to develop that potential.”

Howe admitted that, in general, his team had lacked an attacking edge against the Bluebirds.

“It looked like we could have played for a long time and not scored,” he said.

“We didn’t have that penetration. Maybe late in the game was one of the first times we got behind their back four.

“It was frustrating because we know we can deliver a lot better than that.”

Cardiff skipper Sol Bamba escaped a second caution just after the hour when he was penalised for fouling Joshua King in front of the dugouts.

Howe said: “I felt possibly it should have been a yellow card but there is no point moaning about that now.

“The result is what it is. The referee made his decision and we didn’t play well.”