The sacking of Frank de Boer has truly shown the cutthroat business of Premier League management. Following just four games at Crystal Palace without a single point or goal he has lost his job, to be replaced by Roy Hodgson. Eddie Howe’s AFC Bournemouth are the only other side in the league who are still pointless following West Ham’s 2-0 win over Huddersfield on Monday night.
While Howe did express sympathy for the Dutchman, his dismissal doesn’t worry the Cherries boss: “To be honest I haven’t given it a minute’s thought really, because you’re so consumed in what you’re doing here. It’s not something I really focus on. I don’t look at external news at other clubs and really sit and absorb it and I don’t think you can because you’ve got work to do yourself. So you can’t look at things that you can’t control and worry about other clubs’ trends and managerial situations. You’ve just got to do your job the best you can and hope that’s enough to mean that your team is moving in the direction you want it to.”
He is also confident that he will be able to turn things around by drawing on past experiences both in the Premiership and the lower leagues: “There’s been plenty of other moments that have been equally as difficult. Last season we had a really difficult period, we came back from it and came back stronger from it. I go back to the Championship spells, League One spells, it’s never been a straight line of success. It never is, and you do have moments where you’re tested and you need to ask questions of yourself and then you need to come back and find the answers. We’ve always done that and I back us to do that again.”
Although the Premier League’s second longest serving manager doesn’t feel that there is too much that needs to be changed: “I don’t think it’s far away at all. I do think when you’re in our shoes, you do have to look at the two teams we’ve just played. I thought we gave a good account of ourselves against Manchester City, I think you can get beaten by Arsenal at anytime due to the quality of their players that they have. Then you look at the other games, West Brom away is a tough game, the Watford game will be a disappointment for us in terms of the way we played. We just need to have a cool head, stick to what we know we can do and go out and deliver.”
There is pressure on Howe though, especially from himself: “I feel the pressure is from myself, always, to perform in my job and that’s the same for me as a manager, same for me as a player. Every day, to give the most to my players, to my club and to win, which is ultimately what we’re here to do. So yeah I feel that from myself.”
However, there is one thing he feels will help him to get through this tough period: “When you take a job in this position you need a thick skin, you need to be prepared to ride a few storms and come out even stronger from those experiences. I think the rollercoaster of emotions I’ve experienced in management to this point thicken you up all the time and I think that’s really important because if you’re too sensitive to things nowadays I don’t think you’re going to last two minutes. I think my playing career also helps me. Where as I’ve said many times it was constant disappointment and I think that fires you again to make sure you’re ready for these tough moments in management. It was all of it. A constant fight to achieve something you never do.”
The first hurdle that Eddie Howe and his side will have to get over is Brighton & Hove Albion. The Cherries are at home in the game, which kicks off at eight o’clock tonight.