WHEN Cherries got their Premier League Cup campaign off to a winning start against Nottingham Forest on Saturday, Alex Dobre leapt off the bench to celebrate in front of the home fans.

Not just because he had scored the winning goal before being substituted in the 1-0 triumph - the Romanian star is simply obsessed by being the best.

“I celebrate because I was happy to get the win. I like to win, I don’t like to lose,” he told the Daily Echo.

“I am crazy about winning. If I lose I get mad – even if I play ping pong, or if I play pool, or FIFA – you don’t beat me.

“If you beat me, I get mad.

“I want to win at everything I do. For me everything is a race, everything is a competition, so I take everything seriously.

“I think if you have a winning mentality it’s pushing you a lot further.

“I am pleased when I play football. I am very happy, especially when I am with the under-21s and the first team.

“I am very happy because I am friends with everybody and we do our job properly.”

Dobre’s drive and determination to succeed was what brought him to Cherries in 2016 as part of the under-21 setup at Vitality Stadium.

Now training with Eddie Howe’s first team, the Bucharest-born talent is yet to feature in a senior game for the club.

But after speaking with manager Howe about his journey to the first-team set-up, the 21-year-old can see a clear path – providing he puts the work in.

“My season is good. I train with the first team every day. I am doing my job every day speaking with the gaffer,” he added.

“I ask him what I can improve, what I can do better and where I need to work harder – just to get better as a person and a player.

“I love it when someone tells me I need to go and work on a thing, we go to do that thing and I become better and better.

“I think he (Howe) likes my attitude, how I think. Every time he tells me ‘Alex, keep working hard, keep working hard and your chance will come’.

“This is what I need to do, I am focused.

“If I play for the under-21s or the first team, I need to do my job properly because for this I am paid. Especially, if you want to achieve your dream, you need to be at it 100 per cent. Dream day after day and work hard.

“You have to have that obsession for work, have that obsession to become better, to work harder and to know what to improve.

“If you do that, I think for sure you will be a successful footballer. Hard work pays off.

“I need to focus with small steps. First to be better in training, then to be better in the games and for sure my opportunities will come. I won’t worry about that.”

Dobre arrived on the south coast having been part of the setup in his homeland at Viitorul Constanta.

The top-flight Liga I side are owned and managed by ex-Real Madrid and Barcelona midfielder Gheorghe Hagi, who founded the club in 2009.

A playmaker known for his vision and technique, Hagi played 125 times for his country, scoring 35 goals.

“He is a legend in Romania, he is like Pele or Ronaldo,” said Dobre, who worked with the former Galatasaray hero for three years at Viitorul.

“He is a great guy. He takes care about the club he owns. He cares about every stage – under-15s, 16s upwards.

“He is a very good manager and a very good person.

“It’s good because you learn a lot from him, from his experience from how he plays. It’s good to have advice from him.”

And it is not just on the pitch the Cherries youngster would like to emulate his country’s greatest star.

He said: “If I have the possibility, I will make a club as well.

“After I finish football in many years’ time I still want to be a manager, or have a club or something like that.”

With the youngster’s evident passion, you would not bet against him.