Eddie Howe has told Bournemouth to raise their levels of “belief” after thrashing Watford 4-0 to set a new record Premier League away win.
Joshua King bagged a brace with David Brooks and Callum Wilson also on the scoresheet as the Cherries thumped 10-man Watford at Vicarage Road.
Christian Kabasele was sent off for two bookings, with Bournemouth boss Howe admitting he felt the defender could have been handed a straight red for a “nasty” elbow on Cherries goalkeeper Asmir Begovic.
Bournemouth’s best start to a Premier League campaign has them fifth in the table with 16 points from eight games, leaving Howe cautiously optimistic for some tough challenges ahead.
“I just hope it gives us the confidence and belief that you need to win really difficult games in the Premier League,” said Howe, of his side’s fine victory.
“We’ve got tough games to come, and we’ll need all those mental qualities we showed today, and that we showed at the start of the season to push on and get more results.
“Nothing’s a given in this league. We know how difficult this league can be. You can go phases where you don’t win and everything seems very different.
“So we’re enjoying where we are, but we know we have to try to maximise this period. This is a great result for us, we’re absolutely delighted with that.
“We have played better than that, but we’re certainly very pleased with not just the result but our league position on the back of that.
“I wouldn’t say we’ve revised expectations after our start; how do you do that? What we try and do is just try to work every day in our best way.
“We’re very confident in the players and the team and the methods. So we just try to win every game and see where that takes us.”
Kabasele caught Begovic in the face with a stray elbow in the fist half, before conceding the penalty that King converted which saw him handed his marching orders.
Howe praised his players for keeping their cool despite the ugly challenge on Begovic.
“I’ve just very quickly seen it on screen and the first one is nasty, it looks a dangerous one for Asmir, the elbow coming across him,” said Howe.
“I’m not sure quite where it caught him, but that could easily have been a red in itself. So I think the two yellows was the right call.
“I’m very pleased that our players stayed calm, because at half-time, especially with the atmosphere in the ground, it would have been very easy for us to lose control in one moment and then the numbers would be level again.
“So we had to keep our discipline very much in the manner we did against Crystal Palace. It’s very important to be able to do that in key moments.”
Frustrated Watford boss Javi Gracia believes his Hornets side must now get down to work to ensure no repeat of their below-par performance and hefty defeat.
“It has been the first game where we hadn’t competed at the same level as other games,” said Gracia.
“Today we have conceded more chances, we’ve made more mistakes than in all the other games put together.
“Today was a bad day, we need to improve and come back to the level we were at before.”