STEVE Cook believes Cherries' ability to respond to setbacks will be key to a successful fifth season in the Premier League and insists: "We have a lot of potential."

The experienced centre-back helped Cherries finish 14th last season, with Eddie Howe's side delivering several standout performances.

However, in a campaign riddled with injuries, the Dorset club were unable to capitalise on an excellent start, which saw them claim 20 points from their opening 10 fixtures.

While Cherries' record Premier League appearance maker admits the 2018-19 season could have been better, he hopes the squad can grow from the experience.

Former Brighton talent Cook told the Daily Echo: "To finish 14th was really disappointing.

"On the face of it with all the injuries we had, all the disruption, we can learn from it, we can take the positives from it.

"The inconsistencies from individuals and the team needs to be addressed and we need to be better but again we are a Premier League team next season and that is the main thing. "I still think we have a lot of potential and we can really improve next season but we have a lot to sort out."

Asked what lessons he believed needed to be learned ahead of the new campaign, the Hastings-born star said: "I think it is how to deal with setbacks.

"Next season we have got players who have played a lot of Premier League games who, maybe, didn't think they would, so that bit of experience is there as well and maybe we will be able to handle these situations better if they come up again.

"The squad's been stretched to the maximum. Hopefully, we can get our players back fit over the summer and become a real force for next season."

Cherries' fourth season in the top flight saw Howe faced with unprecedented injury issues to overcome since promotion from the Championship in 2014-15.

The boss was without nine members of his squad for the final game of the season at Crystal Palace.

This included both Simon Francis and Lewis Cook, who missed the entire second half of the season due to serious knee injuries, while Charlie Daniels and Junior Stanislas required surgery in April for knee and hamstring issues, respectively.

The packed treatment room eventually had an impact on the pitch, with Cherries taking just 19 points from their final 19 games of the season.

"We were fortunate to have a good start," said defender Cook. "We were comfortable for the last few weeks (of the season) and players have played a lot of football who didn't think they would. We've got a lot of young players, look at the bench against Crystal Palace.

"Apart from Artur, I don't think there was a player over 24. There is a lot of potential and now the players who have managed to play a good amount of games can use that and really build on their future and the team progressing forward."