Eddie Howe says Bournemouth need to do their talking on the pitch


Defender Steve Cook had his say in midweek.

Under-pressure Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe says frank public criticism from captain Steve Cook is unhealthy and will not aid the club’s Premier League relegation scrap.

Defender Cook reportedly said the Cherries “played like kids” following Wednesday’s humiliating 4-1 home loss to Newcastle.

The struggling south-coast club sit second bottom of the division and have gone seven games without a win ahead of Saturday’s trip to in-form Manchester United.

Howe is eager for players’ critical views to remain private and urged his squad to stick together in the battle to beat the drop.

Bournemouth defender Steve Cook, left, offered a frank assessment of Bournemouth's performance against Newcastle
Steve Cook, left, offered an honest assessment of Bournemouth’s performance against Newcastle (Peter Cziborra/PA)

“Listen, I don’t think they are helpful for us,” Howe said of Cook’s comments.

“When you don’t perform well, I think everything needs to be internal – that’s always been how I’ve worked, we keep things in-house, and our opinions of ourselves stay that way.

“I have a duty when I come to the media to tell the truth in respect of what I think of our performances and I don’t think it’s healthy to view ourselves or read ourselves in that way.

“For the collective good of the group and the club, we know recent performances haven’t been good enough, I don’t think you need to be too clever to work that out.

“Nothing can change the past, we can only change the future and the only way we’re going to do that is to stay together.”

Centre-back Cook revealed Bournemouth’s players locked themselves in the dressing room after capitulating in embarrassing fashion against the Magpies.

The Cherries have taken only a single point from the last 21 available and now have just six games to preserve their top-flight status.

Howe, who has guided the club from the fourth tier to the Premier League during his two spells as manager, admits he is under-performing in his role but insists worrying about his future is futile.

“Fearing the sack is not helpful or productive in any way,” he said.

AFC Bournemouth v Manchester United – Premier League – Vitality Stadium
Bournemouth beat Manchester United 1-0 in November thanks to a goal from Joshua King (Mark Kerton/PA)

“What am I going to do, sit at home and worry about my future? No. I’m going to try and make the team play better and try and focus all of my energies on what we deliver on the training ground, how I speak to my players.

“I am a realist. I know football is all about results, it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been at a football club, you need to win games. But I can only affect what I’m doing right now.

“As manager you take responsibility for everything and that’s the way it should be, and it has to be, and it will continue to be.

“I know my work – for whatever reason – hasn’t been good enough and together with the players we fight on to try and turn things around.”

Bournemouth have never won at Old Trafford and go there seeking an unprecedented league double over United following a 1-0 win at the Vitality Stadium in early November.

The Cherries have not enjoyed victory on the road since December’s shock success at Chelsea, yet Howe remains hopeful of masterminding a great escape.

“A lot of people are certainly welcome to their opinion and a lot of outsiders – probably a huge percentage of people – will say we’re done, we’re finished,” said Howe.

“But historically at this club that’s always been the way in many different aspects. We’ve been written off and against the odds we’ve come through and achieved great things.

“I’m still very much on the positive mindset that we can do it but certainly we are going to have to elevate everything to a new level from what we’ve seen in the last few games.”