EDDIE Howe admitted tiredness had affected his players during Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to Manchester City but insisted: “We’re not complaining about that.”

Cherries were beaten in their third game in eight days by a hugely impressive City side who earned victory thanks to substitute Riyad Mahrez’s winner early in the second half.

Boss Howe was without sidelined quartet Callum Wilson, Dominic Solanke, Junior Stanislas and Steve Cook, while Jefferson Lerma served the second of a two-game ban.

Long-term absentees Lewis Cook and Simon Francis continue to work their way back from serious knee injuries.

Put to him that absences were proving a hindrance, Howe said: “It restricted us in terms of options.

“We had to make a few changes and players played who were fatigued, and in an ideal world we would have freshened a bit more than we did.

“You have to take into consideration that those players have played three games this week.

“Manchester City were able to rotate their squad on Wednesday and it makes a big difference.

“But we’re not complaining about that. We set the team up to try to get a result.”

At 24, Nathan Ake was the oldest member of Cherries’ central defensive trio.

Chris Mepham, 21, and Jack Simpson, 22, had just five Premier League appearances between them prior to kick-off.

Howe said: “I thought the backline was very good. When you consider the ages, it’s even more of an achievement.

“There was some heroic defending at times. I thought Jack did really well in the middle.

“It’s not a position he’s played too much. He played that way against Chelsea in the cup and backed that up today with a really good performance.

“I thought Chris was outstanding on the right side of the three. They are different roles but you have to know what you are doing and especially against players like Sergio Aguero, Kevin De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva.

“If you make one wrong move, you are going to get punished. Great credit goes to those players.”

Ake, who has this season played more Premier League minutes than any member of Cherries’ squad, also gave a terrific performance.

Howe said: “Nathan reads the game so well and is such an intelligent player.

“He’s in the right place at the right time on the majority of occasions and we needed that with the two young players next to him.

“We needed him to lead and set the example and I felt he did that.”

Cherries keeper Artur Boruc made a string of fine stops in the second half at Vitality Stadium.

Howe said: “He really came into the game when we went 1-0 down and we opened up and tried to be more proactive.

“Then, gaps appeared and he made two great saves.”