SIMON Francis defended Cherries’ philosophy to play out from the back and added: “We don’t want to become a team that’s going to lower ourselves to other teams that are going direct.”

The club captain was involved in a short goal-kick routine with goalkeeper Mark Travers, which eventually led to Eddie Howe’s men conceding the opening goal against Watford on Sunday.

Irish stopper Travers, who came in to replace the injured Aaron Ramsdale, played the ball to defender Francis, who in-turn passed back to the stopper.

Travers’s wayward clearance fell to Ismaila Sarr. His cross allowed the unmarked Abdoulaye Doucouré to sweep home.

Asked about the opening goal conceded, Francis told the Daily Echo: “Travs has come in late doors and he’s very good with his feet.

“Put no blame on him at all because he is a young goalie and we encourage that from all our players, trying to play out.

“In hindsight, a couple of minutes left until half-time, yeah we could have squeezed up but we don’t want to become a team that’s going to lower ourselves to other teams that are going direct.

“We feel like our strengths are playing out, playing through teams and creating chances.

“Ultimately, we were punished sloppily really in the end, and that hurts.”

Defeat left Cherries 19th in the league table, with just four points from their past 11 league games.

“It probably summed up how our season has been going,” said 34-year-old Francis when assessing the performance.

“It was nip-and-tuck in the first half, obviously their goal came from us trying to play out – trying to do the right thing - but it wasn’t good enough and we were punished, as you’d expect at this level.

“The second half, they just looked a confident team.

“Their results backed that up and they were in the ascendancy, counter-attacked well. We ended up chasing the game and It was too little, too late.”