MARK HUGHES believes Bournemouth are even better equipped to make a mark in the Premier League this term. The Cherries enjoyed a remarkable debut campaign in the top-flight, defying the odds to retain their spot within the elite courtesy of a 16th place finish.
However, speaking at the pre-match press conference on Friday morning, the Welshman said he wouldn’t be surprised to see Saturday’s opponents enjoy an even more impressive season this time round.
“It will be a difficult game for us,” he stated. “Bournemouth have had a bit of a setback recently, but when you look at them on paper they are a strong and athletic side.
“They have a very good manager too, in Eddie Howe, who has had the benefit of continuity over the past number of years, which is incredibly beneficial.
“He has a lot of responsibility and trust from the owners and when you have that understanding with the Chairman then you can look at things long-term, which is quite unusual in this day and age.
“He has done really well to be fair to him. The key was to stay up last season, they did that, and Eddie has improved the squad even further this year.”
He added: “They have a lot of qualities, they have some very good players and in my opinion look even more equipped to have an even better season.”
Hughes was also full of praise for midfielder Jack Wilshire, who opted to depart Arsenal in the summer in an attempt to rebuild his playing career on the South Coast.
“He was in a similar situation to Joe Allen to be honest, because he is another top quality young player who needed a run of games to get back to his best.
“Going to Bournemouth maybe surprised people in the summer, but I don’t think that should have done really.
“They play good football, which was obviously important to Jack, they are a settled club and he will feel he is at the ideal place to rebuild his career.
“It’s very easy to stay at a big club and take the money, but credit to Jack, and to Joe too, because they have made moves, and been prepared to put their reputations on the line, by playing week in, week out.”
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