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Scott Parker praises Bournemouth’s work-rate and desire in win over Stoke

Stoke City v AFC Bournemouth – Sky Bet Championship – bet365 Stadium
(Image credit: Martin Rickett)

Bournemouth boss Scott Parker paid tribute to his team’s battling qualities as they stretched their lead to six points at the top of the Championship.

Dominic Solanke’s 51st-minute strike helped the Cherries make it 13 league games unbeaten as they clinched a fine 1-0 away win over Stoke at the bet365 stadium.

And Parker’s team have now not conceded in six of their away league outings this season.

“Six clean sheets is no mean feat away from home,” beamed Parker, whose side have made a fine start in their bid to win promotion to the Premier League.

“I think first and foremost, every player built their game on a solid performance defensively – and the work-rate and desire as a team was very pleasing. I think you could see that tonight.

“I thought we played against a really good side, we knew it was going to be a tough game.

“But in the first half we really nullified their threats in terms of our press, which was very, very good.

“Our intensity and structure was very good and then, in the second half, I asked the team to go out and really put a stamp on the game.

“I thought there was a real intensity about us, which is something I think we did really well to get our noses in front.

“We had to show that side of us which we’re starting to get used to seeing, which is that we can grind it out and put bodies on the line.

“We’ve got a desperation to keep the ball out of the net – and it’s a good habit to have.

“For large parts of the game we did really well. We’re a team that wants to go at teams.

“They’d not lost at home, they’re a strong side, so that’s a good win for us.”

Frustrated Stoke boss Michael O’Neill was adamant his side could have at least taken a point as they saw their impressive unbeaten home record finally ended.

Midfielder Jordan Thompson struck a post and substitute Tyrese Campbell rifled a shot at Cherries keeper Mark Travers, but Solanke also hit the crossbar for the visitors.

“We’re obviously disappointed, I thought we competed well in the game and I couldn’t have asked for any more from my players,” reflected the Northern Irishman.

“I thought at times they were a little bit better in possession than us and a bit more polished, they’re a good side and move the ball well.

“But it’s a really poor goal for us to concede – and that’s what decides the game.

“We’re unfortunate not to score ourselves, especially the one that hits the post.

“However, that’s the margins in this league. After giving so much, well it was disappointing to lose the game.”

Stoke’s hopes of victory were not helped by leading scorer Nick Powell limping off with a foot injury in the first half.

“It was a big blow for us, he’s obviously been a very big player for us this season,” admitted O’Neill.

“We had to readjust in terms of what we did tactically, but we had two great crosses across the box and then hit the post. We’re just disappointed we couldn’t find an equaliser.

“It’s disappointing to lose at home because we’ve played well here this season.

“However, there was very little between the teams in the second half.”

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