EDDIE Howe believes Cherries are currently facing "probably our most difficult moment that we've had in the Premier League" after slumping to another defeat, this time at Brighton.

Howe's men have now lost seven of their past nine matches following the 2-0 defeat at the Amex and sit just two points clear of the relegation zone with 20 games played.

There was further concern alongside the result with both Joshua King and Jack Stacey forced off with hamstring problems, while Jefferson Lerma did not feature due to a similar complaint as the club's injury list continues to grow.

“Apart from the first season, I don’t think we have ever been in the relegation zone after any amount of games," said the Cherries boss.

“This year, it’s probably been the closest we’ve been but every year we have been in a relegation battle, every year we have been looking over our shoulders below us.

“This is probably the tightest it’s been. I think we’ve got to relish that challenge that we have.

“It’s probably our most difficult moment that we’ve had in the Premier League when you consider the squad depth we have at the moment.

“That’s just where we are, we have to deal with it and try to come through it."

He added: “We are looking at all situations every day to try to improve where we are. That’s what I’m going to have to do.