Manager Jason Tindall hopes Rodrigo Riquelme’s confidence has been boosted after the on-loan Atletico Madrid youngster netted a late leveller in a 1-1 home draw with Derby.
The result preserved the English Football League’s only remaining unbeaten record after Graeme Shinnie had given the visitors a first-half lead.
Riquelme, 20, came off the bench and scored a side-footed volley with what was almost his first touch, connecting with Diego Rico’s deep cross.
“I’m really pleased that he’s come on and made a difference today. Goals breed confidence for any player,” said Bournemouth boss Tindall.
“I was very disappointed with our first-half performance but I felt we got our reward for the second-half performance.
“I don’t think we were calm enough on the ball. I think we made some poor decisions. They came here not to lose the game and to be fair to them they did that really well.
“It’s great that nine games in we’re still unbeaten because I think that’s difficult for any team to achieve.”
It was tough on the away side, for whom Wayne Rooney was returning for the first time following a period of self-isolation after coming into contact with a friend diagnosed with Covid-19.
Rooney was influential early on and helped to put them in front as his free-kick bounced down off the wall to Graeme Shinnie, who scored via a deflection off Steve Cook.
“Rooney looked quite fit. He gives us a little bit extra. He felt good but more games will come,” said Derby manager Phillip Cocu.
“We all know that we are in a difficult situation at this time. In the end, I think this is a fair result. We had an excellent start. They really struggled to find the solution against us. It’s just a pity that we couldn’t score the second goal.”
The Rams were deserving of their lead, with Martyn Waghorn and Matthew Clarke having already spurned good chances to score prior to the opener.
The Cherries offered little in the first half, with their only chance of note coming right on half-time when David Marshall saved superbly from Dominic Solanke at close range after Junior Stanislas had pulled the ball back.
The home side improved after the break and top scorer Arnaut Danjuma twice came close to an equaliser in the space of a minute. First when he struck the post after collecting Lewis Cook’s pass and then he was denied by Marshall’s firm save at the near post.
They looked well capable of holding out before Riquelme found space on the right edge of the area and side-footed home a volley from Rico’s delivery.
Reports suggest that Sheikh Khaled bin Zayed Al Nehayan is in advanced talks to take over at Derby and there has been much recent speculation about the future of manager Cocu after the club’s poor start to the season.
“I’m totally not focused on that side of the club. I’m focused on football,” added Cocu. “There is always pressure. Pressure in the media, from fans, but also from ourselves.”
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