NATHAN Ake admits Cherries have developed a costly habit of becoming “a bit negative” when taking the lead in matches this season.

Eddie Howe’s men went 1-0 up against in-form Sheffield United at Bramall Lane on Sunday in the 13th minute through Callum Wilson, only to lose 2-1 thanks to goals at the end of each half from Billy Sharp and John Lundstram.

Blades boss Chris Wilder admitted after the contest that his side deserved to be behind following Cherries’ impressive start, but Ake was left frustrated with the way Cherries allowed the hosts back into the contest.

He told the Daily Echo: “They were two sloppy goals. I think one set piece and one from a throw-in.

“I think we defended okay, were up for the game. Obviously it’s a tough game.

“They’re going to put a lot of balls into the box, long balls and stuff like that and I think we did okay 75 per cent of the time but obviously two set pieces is sloppy.

“I think it was a bit negative after the first goal. Before that we played really well and then after we became a little bit negative.

“I think we had to stay positive and keep playing with the ball.”

Asked if the desperation to hold onto the lead was a key factor in Cherries’ style of play altering midway through the first half, Ake added: “To be honest we have done it all the season.

“When we go 1-0 up I think we go a little bit negative and stuff like that.

“I think we have to make sure next time we don’t do that again.”

Cherries looked set for an impressive point against a Sheffield United side chasing a European place on their return to the top flight.

However, substitute Lundstram popped up with six minutes to play to earn Wilder’s charges all three points and leave Cherries just two points clear of the relegation zone down in 16th.

Asked if he felt a draw would have been a fair result, Ake said: “In the first half especially we had a few chances, good chances, a few moments.

“But I think they had chances as well, they’re a good team so we would’ve taken a draw I think in the end, but unfortunately we didn’t.”

Cherries now face a break without a fixture until February 22 with a clash at Burnley.

Players have been given this week off before returning to training ahead of the trip to Turf Moor, the first of 12 games remaining for Howe’s men to battle to avoid the drop.

“It would’ve been nice to get away with something (at Bramall Lane) and then go on a break,” said Ake.

“But obviously it’s still good to go on a break and get our minds back on it, refresh and be ready after.”