Manager Eddie Howe is confident Bournemouth are ready to “defy the odds” again by preserving their place in the Premier League – and they will tackle Manchester United head on at Old Trafford.
The Cherries slumped to a fourth straight league defeat at West Brom last weekend and have not won since beating Swansea 3-0 away on New Year’s Eve.
Such a poor run of form has left Bournemouth just four points clear of the relegation zone.
Howe, though, believes his players have what it takes to regroup and make sure a positive first half of the campaign is not allowed to fade away.
“When you look at our recent history, sometimes we have to take a moment just to think and reflect and look back (on what we have achieved), because those things are from where you get your strength,” Howe said.
“When you think of recent times, the situations this club has been, which these players have been in – it has not been a bed of roses for a lot of their careers.
“There have been some hard moments, me included, and it is in these situations where you just have to reflect and say, ‘Okay, let’s draw strength from all those past experiences, refocus and go again’.
“We will look at our mindset, become very motivated again to prove people wrong.”
Howe added: “We have always tried to defy the odds here and we will have to do that again, so we need to be very strong as a group.
“I don’t see motivation in the group as a problem, that is not an issue for us and against many teams we have played very well.
“In recent weeks we haven’t had that collective team performance which we have been looking for, so m y main focus this week has been to get everybody performing at their best level again.”
Bournemouth may have to produce their performance of the season if they are to leave Old Trafford with a positive result.
Jose Mourinho’s men have lost only two fixtures since November and last weekend secured the EFL Cup with victory over Southampton at Wembley, courtesy of a late header from 26-goal frontman Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Although the Cherries have never beaten United away from home, Howe sees no reason to go into the match with any sense of trepidation.
” We have worked the players hard this week and we are excited by this game,” Howe said in his pre-match press conference.
“You can only be positive, there is no other way to approach this game or any other game.
“We are as confident as we can be with our run of fixtures and know that a win is needed to fully feel good about ourselves, and hopefully that is not too far away.”
Howe adde d, according to Bournemouth’s website : “United have progressed and improved, that has been obvious, and they won the cup last week, so they will be buoyed by that.
“They have some key players, but we will have to deal with them.”