Howe going back to basics in bid to reverse Bournemouth’s slump

Eddie Howe hopes going back to basics will help Bournemouth rediscover their identity and help secure Premier League status.

The Cherries head to Brighton on Saturday without defenders Charlie Daniels and Diego Rico, who have been ruled out for the rest of the campaign through injury.

Howe is confident the rest of the squad can pull together and help deliver the results needed over the final five games.

“When you look at the past two games, we have been disappointed with what we have delivered,” said Howe, whose side have 38 points but with only one win in nine league matches after losing 3-1 at home against Burnley.

“In terms of how we play and performance-wise, we have dipped below the standards that we know we are capable of.

“Naturally, when you do that, I think you have to review yourself, as in me personally, go away and try to produce better for the players and better for everybody to give a true performance that we know we are capable of.

“That’s what we have tried to do. We have gone back to basics, if you like, in terms of how we play and what our identity is and, hopefully, that will show this weekend.

“We have to look at it as an opportunity for us to put last week to bed and to get back to more positive feelings and the feelings of satisfaction, knowing you have given your best performance. That’s what we are looking for.”

Daniels is set for a lengthy spell of recovery following knee surgery, while fellow left-back Rico sustained an ankle injury against Burnley which is expected to see him miss the remainder of the campaign.

Howe will have to get creative with his defensive formations to tackle Brighton.

“The fortunate thing is we have players who are adaptable and can play in different positions and that’s hugely important at this stage so we will try to pick the right team for this game,” Howe said at a press conference reported by the club.

Brighton are also fighting to mathematically make sure of top-flight status again.

Chris Hughton’s side won 3-1 at the Vitality Stadium in the FA Cup third-round tie in January, and went on to reach the semi-finals at Wembley last weekend, where they were edged out by Manchester City.

Howe said: “They are a very competitive team. Chris has them very well organised, they have some good technical players and some difference-makers in their frontline.

“We know from every encounter we have had against Brighton in our Premier League journey, they have been tough, tight games.

“We are going to need to be at our best to get over the line and win.”