FIVE-POINT PLAN

Australian Four Four Two - - PREMIER LEAGUE -

1 BE­COME BET­TER ON THE TURN

The Cher­ries con­sis­tently lost aerial du­els to most op­po­nents last sea­son and were vul­ner­a­ble to through-ball at­tacks, which caught them out all too of­ten. These two de­fen­sive frail­ties merit plenty of train­ing-ground drills.

2 KEEP BEGOVIC ON HIS TOES

As­mir Begovic was re­garded as an ex­cel­lent ad­di­tion when he ar­rived from Chelsea for $15m but he strug­gled a bit, mak­ing er­rors that were un­char­ac­ter­is­tic of his ca­reer up to now. That must have irked Howe as he tried to ad­dress Bournemouth’s loose back line. They’ve just shipped out three goal­keep­ers, but Ar­tur Boruc re­mains and can keep the big Bos­nian hon­est.

3 STAY STEADY, ED­DIE

Howe keeps his head when oth­ers are los­ing theirs, be it dur­ing a bad Fe­bru­ary slump in their sec­ond Pre­mier League cam­paign or a false start to 2017-18 (the Cher­ries lost their first four and also spent Christ­mas in the rel­e­ga­tion zone). He has re­mained sane by stick­ing to his own phi­los­o­phy, say­ing: “You are of­ten one re­sult away from a cri­sis, but I am a firm be­liever in do­ing the right things – the luck changes.” What­ever un­folds this time, don’t ex­pect a knee-jerk re­ac­tion.

4 START MATCHES STRONGER

This is eas­ier said than done; it’s about as help­ful as say­ing, “Try scor­ing more goals”. But Howe’s men do make life harder for them­selves by reg­u­larly fall­ing be­hind in games: 23 times last sea­son, they con­ceded first. The way they kept bounc­ing back did showcase their spirit – im­pres­sively, they lost only 13 of those games – but iron­ing out is­sues around con­cen­tra­tion early doors would save them the bother.

5 KEEP HOME AD­VAN­TAGE

Howe be­lieves the club must build that big­ger sta­dium if they are to con­tinue pulling off mir­a­cles and cre­ate a legacy of their top-flight ad­ven­ture, how­ever long it lasts. Still, while they are at their 11,400-ca­pac­ity ground (a new 2,400-stand was only erected in 2013), they may as well use it to their ad­van­tage. Main­tain­ing a fierce cup-tie at­mos­phere can boost a team that is al­ready big on unity.

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