BOSS Eddie Howe admits he will look to “educate” tough-tackling Jefferson Lerma in an attempt to stop the midfielder from collecting “needless” yellow cards.

The Colombian international took his tally of bookings to four for the season in just seven matches after a late foul on Sebastian Haller against West Ham United on Saturday, leaving him just one card away from a suspension.

Lerma’s name is not uncommon in referees’ notebooks with the 24-year-old being shown 53 yellow cards and one red in his 126 league matches since moving to Europe to join Spanish side Levante in 2015.

And while Howe is keen for Lerma to retain his ball-winning nature, he admits the prospect of the midfielder being banned is a concern.

Cherries’ boss told the Daily Echo: “Saturday’s (foul) he probably didn’t need to do. I think the majority of his tackles I’m with him on the pitch and he might be a split second late and it’s a yellow card. That’s the way he plays.

“You wouldn’t want him to change that competitive style. Obviously we don’t want to lose him to suspensions and it would be a big blow if we did lose him.

“It’s the needless ones (bookings). It’s the ones at the end of the game that he’ll probably look back at and think ‘I didn’t need to do that’. They’re the ones that you want to try and eradicate from his game.”

Howe added: “It was well-documented, Harry Arter and our relationship with Harry and how many yellow cards he picked up. But you wouldn’t want to change Harry’s instincts and the way that he played because he wouldn’t be the player that made him what he was.

“It’s the same with Jeff. That’s why we signed him. You don’t want to take that away, a lot of the attributes that he shows but it’s trying to educate him and show him maybe a different way at times will be key – talk to him and show him some things.

“We want to keep him on the pitch for as long as we can.”

Having been left out of the side to face Everton, Lerma has returned for the subsequent league clashes against Southampton and West Ham, partnering Philip Billing in the centre of midfield.

He was selected as man-of-the-match by Daily Echo readers in our online poll, receiving 30 per cent of the vote, ahead of Aaron Ramsdale (13 per cent) and Joshua King (11 per cent).

And Howe was pleased with the display from the midfield duo against the Hammers.

He said: “I thought they did very well. I think when you consider there were three midfielders who were all technical in there including (Pablo) Fornals and with the changes that they made with Jack (Wilshere) coming on and (Manuel) Lanzini, it’s really tough because you’re outnumbered for a lot of the time.

“But their physicality, their ability to cover big distances for us in the system that we play was hugely important.

“I think they’ve been excellent.”