Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe has challenged his players to produce another maximum-level performance when Premier League leaders Chelsea come to the Vitality Stadium.
The Cherries head into Saturday’s 5:30pm kick-off on the back of a five-match unbeaten run which has seen them pick up points at Old Trafford and then Liverpool, where Josh King’s late strike secured a 2-2 draw on Wednesday night.
Howe, though, knows all of that hard work can be quickly undone as his squad gear up for games against the league’s top two sides, with a trip to White Hart Lane to follow next weekend.
“We are feeling good and confident at the moment,” Howe said.
“Our home form has been very good, we have won our last two here and performed well away in the last two as well, against Southampton and Liverpool, which were really big points for us.
“If we can continue that momentum we have a chance.”
Howe added in a press conference: “We have to maximise (ourselves) in every game, be difficult to break down, and we have been able to do that recently, so the next two (matches) are going to be similar types.”
After watching the manner in which his team battle back to earn a point at Anfield, Howe feels Bournemouth have again shown they have what it takes to hold their own in the top flight as they look to edge closer to safety.
“It reinforces our belief we can get points against anybody, we have always believed that this season,” he said.
“We do need the team to perform, every unit, at a very high level and we had that against Liverpool.
“We showed the character and belief you need, because even when you are chasing games you have to believe you can score a goal at any time to get something from it, that is a really important quality to have.”
Howe added: ” You have to get over the line, to finish the job off and that would be the view from our perspective, we still need points ourselves.
“At the start of the season it was all about getting over 42 points, which was our total from last year and that is still our aim.”
Chelsea recalled Dutch defender Nathan Ake early from his season loan at Bournemouth when he returned to Stamford Bridge in January.
The 22-year-old, though, has yet to feature in the Premier League again under Antonio Conte, with just two appearances in the FA Cup.
While Howe was sorry to lose a player of Ake’s quality, the Cherries boss has no issues with the way the situation panned out.
“We were very thankful to Chelsea for loaning him to us in the first place, there has to be that element of trust that we are going to look after one of their brightest prospects, so we were very appreciative of the loan,” Howe said.
“We were of course disappointed to lose him because he was integral part of our team, but that is Chelsea’s right, their player, they could recall him and I have no problem with it, but obviously it impacted on us at that time.
“We have missed him, on and off the pitch, because he is a great lad and fitted well into our team.”
The Bournemouth boss added: “They did what they felt was right for him and their club, so I have no problem with that.”