EDDIE Howe backed the attitude and endeavour of his players to help Cherries survive in the Premier League but insisted: “We can’t waste games.”

The Dorset club missed out on the opportunity to build on their 26-point top-flight total, having squandered a goal advantage to lose 2-1 at Sheffield United on Sunday.

Defeat kept them two points above the bottom three, with three of the four sides below them holding a game in hand.

Howe’s troops are currently on their mid-season break with no Premier League fixture scheduled for them this weekend.

But the manager stressed his side could not afford to squander any further opportunities in their 12-game finale to beat the drop.

Howe said: “The attitude and the endeavour of the players is there and they are committed to what we need to do.

“As long as we have that, we’ve got a great chance with the quality we have within the squad.

“We had to get something on Sunday and I think that is going to have to be the message throughout the remaining games we have – we can’t waste games.

“It’s going to be too tight down the bottom of the league this year.

“We know the scrap we are in and these games are pivotal. You have to come away with something to help your ultimate objective.

“There is stuff to learn from, stuff to grow from but we are running out of moments and games to say that. We need points.”

Cherries’ next test comes with a trip to Burnley on February 22.

And the manager admitted he will have a “feeling of frustration” after coming close to success at Bramall Lane.

“The two-week break is what it is. It’s there, so we have to use it wisely for us,” added Howe.

“We have to come back and learn from what happened on Sunday.

“It will be a feeling of frustration for me because we should have got something on Sunday – that’s a horrible emotion to keep with you.”

Cherries then host Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on February 29, before visiting leaders Liverpool on March 7.