AFC Bournemouth vs Manchester City - Howe wants fans to play a part against City

Posted Monday, February 13, 2017 by PA

Eddie Howe has called on Bournemouth supporters to be his struggling side's 12th man when they host Manchester City at the Vitality Stadium.

The Cherries enjoyed a strong start to their second campaign in the Premier League and were as high as ninth in the table at the turn of the year.

But they are without a victory in 2017 and head into Monday night's fixture just six points above the relegation zone.

Howe, who has guided the south coast club from the verge of extinction to the top flight, is hopeful however, that Bournemouth will soon return to winning ways.

"We've had blips before," said Howe. "When we were going for promotion from League One we lost five games in a row. Everyone thought the wheels had come off and we were going to sink into oblivion again.

"We came back with renewed strength and vigour. The supporters backed us through that moment with no problems and I think that's the real strength behind the fanbase.

"I would urge the supporters to really get behind the team for every game between now and the end of the season, because of the position we're in. We'll need them to be like the extra player they've been for us throughout the years."

Bournemouth secured a 3-0 victory at Swansea on New Year's Eve, but after blowing a three-goal lead against Arsenal in their next match, an FA Cup exit to Millwall and disappointing defeats against Hull and Crystal Palace ensued. They then conceded six goals on their last outing against Everton.

Earlier this week, chairman Jeff Mostyn felt compelled to give Howe his vote of confidence.

"I hope it's longer than the foreseeable future that I'm here," Howe added. "My heart is very much here and I'm looking forward to getting back to winning games.

"It goes with the territory. You do begin to expect it, but you don't always agree with the things you hear.

"For me that's crazy to suggest Claudio Ranieri's job would be under pressure after everything he's achieved for Leicester. But that's the way the Premier League and football is at the minute, you just have to accept that."

Howe could be without the defensive trio of Simon Francis, Charlie Daniels and Adam Smith who are all battling injuries, while goalkeeper Adam Federici has been ruled out for the rest of the season after undergoing surgery on a knee problem.

Meanwhile, Vincent Kompany admits Manchester City have come unstuck in their desire to play the "perfect game" at times this season.

But the fit-again City captain is confident the team are heading back in the right direction after rediscovering their best form in recent weeks.

City have played some of the exhilarating football for which manager Pep Guardiola is renowned in compiling a four-game unbeaten run since suffering a humbling 4-0 loss at Everton last month.

Their performances have been much more reminiscent of the 10-game winning start they made to the season than the inconsistent autumn and winter sequence that recorded another low with a 4-2 thrashing at Leicester.

Kompany told the club's website: "I think this season has been interesting, very 'learnful'. Obviously you want to be top of the league and with the ambitions we have we want to be competing for everything and winning everything, but it has been very 'learnful' and I think we are somehow on a good track. It just needs to translate into results.

"We are looking to play the perfect game at the moment, and on the way to playing the perfect game there are a few times where it is not all going your way.

"I am not a person that will feel overly happy when the results aren't there but I won't feel negative about it because I have seen a lot of work in the background, a lot of players trying to take in a new way of playing football and I think with little tweaks here and there we are on the right track as a club and as a team."

Kompany, 30, is back in contention at Bournemouth after overcoming the knee injury - the latest in a long line of setbacks - suffered at Crystal Palace in November.

He returned to action against Palace in the FA Cup fourth round last month but has been an unused substitutes for the last two victories over West Ham and Swansea.

Kompany said: "I want to stay fit but I want to keep improving. Very few know how many hours I put into coming back every single time.

"I think it is only when people see me back in training they realise, 'he is still running well, he is still mobile, he is still strong'."

Guardiola has selection decisions to make over whether to restore Claudio Bravo in goal in place of Willy Caballero and whether to recall top scorer Sergio Aguero in attack.

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