EDDIE Howe insists Joshua King should be “very pleased” with his performances this season, despite the forward not reaching his personal goal tally target.

The Norwegian netted 12 times for Cherries this campaign, all in the Premier League, including one in the final-day defeat at Crystal Palace on Sunday.

That figure placed him second behind only Callum Wilson (15) in the race for the club’s golden boot and it is also the second season in King’s senior career where he has reached double figures.

His best return of 16 came during the 2016-17 campaign.

In a recent interview with the Premier League, King stated: “I feel every season I should score 15.

“That’s just a target that I put on myself and I feel like if you don’t score 15, you shouldn’t be happy, as in there’s something you didn’t do right in the season.”

King played in 38 games for Cherries this season and while Howe admitted the 27-year-old could have scored more, he had been happy with the overall contribution of his forward.

The Cherries boss told the Daily Echo: “I think Josh is one that will look at the goal tally and judge himself that way.

“He could’ve easily had more goals this season, but overall I’ve been pleased with his performances.

“I think that, for me, is always the true judge. It’s not necessarily defined by how many goals you end up with.

“He’s contributed to the team. He’s always the type of player that, even if he doesn’t score, is giving the team certain things that we need.

“He can be very pleased with his season overall.”

He added: “I’d say the same about any attacking player. It’s not just the goals or assists that you’re looking at.

“You’re looking at the overall picture. Certainly you can be effective without contributing those numbers in terms of your defensive performance, your discipline and your ability to play for the team, not just yourself.

“Naturally I’m pleased with the guys that have had an impact this season, but I’ll always back them to come back better next year.”

This season has seen King forge a dangerous strike partnership with Wilson.

The pair started 25 matches together throughout the campaign and helped Cherries post their highest ever top-flight goals tally of 56. Only the league’s top six netted more this season.

But the Norway international believes Cherries’ system is arguably more important than the personnel in creating such an attacking force.

King said: “Callum was injured in my first season (at Cherries, 2015-16) from early on.

“Last season I would say I played in a bit of a different position than I did the season before, which was tough.

“This season me and Callum have really become a partnership.

“It’s not only me and Callum, I would say it’s our front four, no matter who’s playing.

“If it’s Junior Stanislas, (David) Brooks, Wee Man (Ryan Fraser) or Jordon Ibe, it’s just the front four.

“We’re trying to do the best for the team because we know we need to score goals.”