CARETAKER manager Jonathan Woodgate expressed his adoration for Cherries midfielder Jefferson Lerma and added: “It’s a pleasure to coach a player like that.”

The Colombian midfielder has played every minute during Woodgate’s temporary spell in charge, helping the Dorset club to three wins in four games.

He played a key role in Wednesday night’s 1-0 victory over Rotherham at Vitality Stadium, with Cherries digging in to go within eight points of the Championship’s top two.

Lerma arrived at Cherries from La Liga outfit Levante in the summer of 2018 and has since chalked up 96 appearances in all competitions.

Speaking about the 26-year-old after Wednesday’s victory, Woodgate said: “How good was he? He’s unbelievable.

“One player that I absolutely adore is Lerma. Just how he plays, he gives absolutely everything and I can’t fault him.

“It’s a pleasure to coach a player like that and who has that attitude day in and day out in training.

“He gives you everything. You look at the last minute. He won a header, got up, played a ball, ran down the wing. He did everything.

“That’s what you need – you need those types of players in your changing room. When those types of players are on your pitch you feel a lot better.”

As well as a goalless draw with Nottingham Forest under Woodgate, Cherries have sealed victories over Birmingham City, Burnley and the Millers.

The 41-year-old coach recently revealed via the Coaches Voice how Sir Bobby Robson “had this amazing ability to make you feel 10 feet tall, whatever the situation” having played under the legendary manager at Newcastle.

Asked whether he was trying to do that with Cherries’ players, Woodgate replied: “I think there are different ways you can try to improve players and man management is one of the biggest things.

“I will try and do that. I am a decent person at the end of the day. I will talk to my players.

“But what I will be with my players is I’ll be honest.

“So if I give them praise, they’ve got to take the criticism. That’s how it works. At the minute they are getting praise.

“Like with Lloyd (Kelly) and Cameron (Carter-Vickers), they are two young centre-backs and we are learning.

“But what I am telling them to do, they are doing properly, which I enjoy. Man management is a huge part of the game.”

Woodgate is expected to be in charge when Cherries make the trip to Queens Park Rangers in the Championship on Saturday (3pm).