Eddie Howe does not believe Bournemouth have ever been able to feel like an established Premier League club.
The Cherries have spent five seasons in the top flight since earning promotion in 2015 to cap a remarkable journey from League Two.
But they now only have five games to save themselves from the drop, sitting four points adrift of safety going into Thursday’s clash with Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham.
They finished as high as ninth in 2017, 12th in 2018 and were comfortably clear of the drop last season as well in 14th place.
But Howe rejected suggestions that had ever led to any sense of complacency within the club about their position in the top flight.
“To say we are an established Premier League club – I don’t think we could ever say that,” Howe said.
“And that’s no disrespect to us as a club but with everything that we have to fight against, in the sense of the size of the club, and the facilities. You could go through the whole club, and to say that we are an established Premier League club in any department I’d say would be wrong.
“We had to consistently fight against the odds to stay here. So I don’t think from my side, and I think that’s the most important thing, because I would dictate the mentality of the players. Other people, I’m not in control of what they think.
“Every year we are in the Premier League is so, so special. For me it is an amazing achievement to do that.
“And then my hope was that we could build the club from the inside out, because you don’t go from being a League Two club to a Premier League club in the time that we did and not have areas of the club that we need to develop.”
Bournemouth are without a win since February and in the middle of a daunting run of fixtures with Leicester and Manchester City up next after Spurs.
Howe was encouraged by some of the play shown by his side last time out at Old Trafford despite the match ending in a 5-2 defeat.
Now he is looking for a further boost from the return from suspension of top scorer Callum Wilson, who Howe believes can be a key player during the run-in.
“When I look at Callum I’ve always said I see a very positive individual,” he said. “Every day when he comes in I can hear his laughter through the walls of the training ground. You need people like that at this moment.
“He will feel the pain of defeats, he will feel everything the team feels. But in some senses you need those characters like Callum to drag everybody up again for the next game, which is the most important.
“We can’t change what’s gone on behind us, we can only affect what’s in front of us.
“That’s why Callum is such a key member of the team from a psychological perspective.”
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