Monday, 1 February 2016

Coping with being favourites

Visiting Fratton Park may have seemed like a daunting experience only a few seasons ago but the atmosphere last Saturday was more like a celebration of southern football than a place where a giant killing was about to take place. Many Pompey fans seemed genuinely pleased that the Cherries are now in the top flight and while they wanted to beat AFCB on the day there was a reasonable amount of grudging respect that I found quite strange.
Eddie wants to keep making history and get
further than the club has before in the FA Cup.
Eddie Howe made it known that Bournemouth players would have to get used to going to places while being seen as favourites to win games and that it is something that they are still trying to get used to. Coming into the FA Cup in round three is a big leap in itself but to be playing teams that were formerly much higher in the leagues over a longer period that AFCB is still not easy to comprehend for some of us long time fans. Sure, Pompey have a much bigger fanbase and a great heritage, but the Cherries are still making their story in the big time and who knows what will happen in the future.

"I spoke to the players on numerous times in the week about on what we'd be facing today. I knew it would be a really tough game," said Eddie Howe. "Any cup tie here is difficult. The crowd, being a south coast derby, the tempo of the game was always going to be high and we didn't deal with it very well."

There is a confidence about AFCB though that has been seen in both round three and four of the FA Cup this season. In both games the Cherries were not massively on top for any long period and yet there was a belief that in time the quality would come through and win the day. Against Birmingham there was a good deal of good fortune in having penalty missed and at Fratton Park the team might have seen a penalty awarded when Josh King made a clearance. You need luck in the cup and I don't want to speak to early but AFCB are starting to get the rub of the green in this competition. They have been doing it the hard way as well in having to win games away from home and drawing a big team becomes a little harder when you are already a Premier League team.

Eddie Howe spoke about how he never prepared a team to have to try and avoid treading on a banana skin. "It's new for us. I've never prepared a team to be the scalp. I don't think we dealt with that very well in the early stages of the game today. They almost seemed to catch is by surprise," he said.

Being favourites though is not something that should make AFCB's players go out any differently into games. "Portsmouth were very good. You have to give them a lot of credit for how they played. They pressed us, they out passed us which is something I have not said at Premier League level. I know we made a lot of changes today but still I'm disappointed with that first half," said Eddie. "A lot to earn from it, a lot to improve in it."

Let's hope the players can put the lessons learned into a good win against Everton in the next round.

Enjoy Transfer Deadline day today!

All Departments podcast is out and talks over the major points of the Cherries' 4th Round FA Cup win against Pompey as well as transfer news - visit All Departments' website for ways to listen in or scroll down Cherry Chimes' right-side web panel to the All Departments' sound bar.

The Cherry Chimes Newsletter is out today.
Cherry Chimes' February Newsletter  brings you the best stories on the blog and the thoughts behind them from last month, plus there is a special Newsletter article entitled: Can Grabban be even better second time around?

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