STRIKER Dominic Solanke revealed how he saw Cherries’ relegation to the Championship as “an opportunity to get my confidence back”.

The former Liverpool and Chelsea frontman arrived at Vitality Stadium from Anfield for £17.5million under Eddie Howe in January 2019.

He would take exactly one year, spanning 31 games in all competitions to get off the mark for the Dorset outfit – with just four goals scored as Cherries dropped back to the second tier on the final day of the 2019-20 campaign.

But having regularly led the line for the Dorset outfit since, in spells under Jason Tindall, Jonathan Woodgate and now Scott Parker, the Under-20 World Cup winner insists he has found his mojo.

Reflecting on his start to life at Cherries, Solanke told Goal: “It was quite difficult. There were quite high expectations, which probably made it a bit harder. It was obviously such a tough time, but I look back now and I can use that to make sure I carry on how I’m going.

“I wouldn’t say there were any doubts about being good enough, because I think I am. I think I’ve got the talent and the work-rate to play in the Premier League, but I didn’t quite get that bit of confidence and rhythm. That’s probably what caused me to have that moment in my career.

“The fans are a big part of football, but it’s for yourself and your family as well.

"They were with me throughout it. It was a tough time for me and a tough time for them. That was the main thing that kept me going.

“When we got relegated, I saw this as an opportunity to get my confidence back, play week in, week out, and get that flow back. I think that’s what I’m doing now and I’m looking to keep progressing.”

Solanke has stepped up to the plate for Cherries in the second tier, scoring 15 times in all competitions last season, while already rattling in 14 goals in 18 games this campaign.

“It’s what you want, being a striker, to score as many goals as you can. At the moment, I’m in a good place and I feel confident,” added the England international.

“Last season was decent for me, and I just wanted to build on that.

“The style of play, the new manager and his staff coming in has definitely helped me. It’s all just clicked, and I think you can see that with the goals I’m getting.”

Only Fulham’s Aleksandar Mitrovic has scored more times than Solanke in the Championship this season, with Cherries sitting two points clear at the top of the pile.

“We go into games expecting to win and everyone’s fighting for each other, which we lacked a bit last year,” said the 24-year-old.

“We’re definitely going in the right direction.

“We’re in a good place. We went unbeaten for 15 games, which was really good.

“The game we lost was a bit annoying because we always back ourselves at home, but the most important thing was getting back on track straightaway and that’s what we did.”

Cherries are set to make the trip to Derby County on Sunday (noon).