Eddie Howe has challenged his players to learn how to feed Jermain Defoe to propel Bournemouth up the Premier League.
Veteran striker Defoe sunk Brighton 2-1 with a late goal as the Cherries claimed their first league win of the new campaign at the fifth time of asking.
The 34-year-old revelled in his first Bournemouth goal for 16 years, with boss Howe only just able to recall playing alongside Defoe in the 3-3 draw at Reading back in May 2001.
Howe has now called on his charges to work out how to tee-up Defoe in the hope that the evergreen striker can repeat the 15-goal Premier League haul he managed in a struggling Sunderland side last term.
“He’s one of the best finishers I’ve ever seen,” said Howe. “When I was playing with him I couldn’t believe how good he was, when we first started to introduce him into the team.
“And he’s lost none of that. We’ve already seen it in training just how sharp he is in front of goal.
“I’m very relieved by the win, I think that’s the overriding emotion.
“It is pure relief. It feels like it ha s been longer than four games that we haven’t won, because at the beginning of the season you’re just desperate for a win.
“We need to get to know as a team what Jermain wants, where he wants the ball.
“He’s different from every other striker we have. And it’s all about us creating more openings for him. We haven’t created enough chances for him so far this season.
“He thrives on those openings. So our players have to learn the kind of runs he makes, learn what he wants and feed him more.”
Bournemouth’s win leaves Crystal Palace as the only Premier League team still searching for their first points of the new campaign.
The Cherries avoided losing five successive top-flight matches for the first time thanks to two smart assists from Jordon Ibe and well-taken goals from Andrew Surman and Defoe.
Brighton boss Chris Hughton admitted the Premier League new boys were given a harsh lesson, while also hoping a knee injury to Pascal Gross is not a bad one.
“The two times we didn’t defend so well led to their two goals; it’s a tough lesson for us,” said Hughton. “The injury for Pascal (Gross) was genuine. I don’t think it’s too serious, hopefully.”
Published at Sat, 16 Sep 2017 08:53:57 +0000