AFC Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe says he knows the importance placed on Sunday’s game by his team’s supporters as the Cherries prepare to welcome Southampton to Vitality Stadium.
Howe’s men continue to establish themselves in the Premier League after consolidating last season. They head into the weekend level on points with Saints after 16 games played.
Last season the Cherries earned their first league win over Southampton since 1958, and Howe is keen to give Bournemouth’s supporters another match to remember.
“The more games we have between us, the rivalry will develop,” he told reporters.
“It’s a new thing. We’ve not been in the Premier League for long and I do think it’s something which takes time to form those connections and we’ll see how the games go.
“Last year it was two really contrasting games against them. Good atmospheres in both games. We did well here, but we didn’t do so well at St Mary’s, so it will be good to play them again.
“I think it means a lot because it’s a Premier League game,” he added. “First and foremost we know the importance of the league and every single game is massive for us now and the fact that it is Southampton who are very close to us now as a football club.
“We know the importance of the game for our supporters and for everyone connected to the club, but more because of the importance to our league position which means everything to us and we’re looking to enhance that.”
the more games we have between us, the rivalry will develop.eddie howe
afc bournemouth manager
Howe says he also appreciates the work load that his opposite number Claude Puel has had to deal with this season, and doesn’t expect Saints’ approach to change for this game.
“They have tweaked their team but I don’t think they’ve changed their style too much from game to game,” he highlighted.
“They’ve got a good squad with healthy options themselves. They have good players coming in when they do decide to make changes.
“They’ve done well this year with the workload they’ve had with the amount of game they’ve had and European stuff as well and with cup competitions, it’s been a real high work-load on their team and I think the only option they do have is to rotate, so I think that has been good management.”