Ahead of the Football League Cup fixture against Blackburn Rovers at Dean Court, a lot was made of the chance to impress, for many of the AFC Bournemouth squad.
Whilst a lot of the focus, particularly from the Cherries supporters was focussed on Lewis Cook, it would also prove to be a chance for many other members of the squad who find themselves on the fringes.
Players such as Tyrone Mings, Jordon Ibe, Lys Mousset and Jermain Defoe, who were all handed their first starts for quite some time.
Artur Boruc, Simon Francis, Jack Simpson, Junior Stanislas and of course Lewis Cook also all came into the starting XI following the Premier League embarrassment at Burnley.
The Cherries would eventually win the tie 3-2, AFC Bournemouth had built a two-goal lead through an excellent goal from Stanislas and a penalty, both won and converted by Jordon Ibe.
However, two individual errors then brought Blackburn Rovers back into the game.
The first was when record signing Jefferson Lerma was easily mugged in midfield, the second was a rash sliding tackle by Tyrone Mings to concede a penalty.
Callum Wilson however scored in stoppage time to save their blushes.
AFC Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe told afcb.co.uk…
“Only we could do to ourselves what we did tonight! We created so many chances and maybe could’ve enjoyed the last part of the game, but we shot ourselves in the foot twice. We made some bad decisions, conceding two goals, and then it’s in the balance. The lottery of the penalty shootout was about to be the outcome of the game and we should never have been in that position.
“I have to credit the players though, because even though we get ourselves in these positions, we can sometimes show the attitude and spirit to get out of them. It was great to see Callum score from Marc’s corner.
“My mood is 90 percent positive because of the amount of chances we created against a good side in the game. We played some good football and defended well and then suddenly we concede two goals. We need to work on that 10 percent.
“We desperately needed a performance and reaction after the Burnley game. I placed great importance on the game and how we prepared for it. I’m delighted to win and delighted with a lot of aspects of the performance. Some players have done their chances no harm.
Cook was near faultless, not quite top notch but not too far off. One absolutely unreal turn second half to open the game up, and some lovely through balls throughout. One effort just wide of the near post (although maybe greedy with others better placed?)
Lerma did ok but got caught out for the first Blackburn goal. Having sidestepped the press time after time, this time he got pressed and just got robbed. Had it not been for that he would have been up there with Lewis. Lerma looked better positionally and more at home with Cook than with Surman, no tripping up over each other. But still, the individual error did lead to a goal.
Whether one or both as a pair will get into the side Monday or soon we’ll have to see. But it looked to have potential as a combination IMHO. – Join the conversation, click here.