Howe takes blame for Bournemouth’s ‘painful’ relegation

London (AFP) – Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe accepted the blame for his side’s “incredibly painful” relegation from the Premier League on Sunday.

Howe’s team won 3-1 at Everton in their last game of the season, but that was not enough to preserve their top-flight status.

The Cherries’ five-year stay in the Premier League was ended by fourth-bottom Aston Villa’s 1-1 draw at West Ham.

Watford also went down after losing 3-2 at Arsenal, joining Bournemouth and already-relegated Norwich in the Championship next season.

It was a bitter blow for Howe, who has been regarded as one of the brightest young English managers for several seasons.

Howe insisted the responsibility for Bournemouth’s relegation lies with him rather than his under-performing players.

“It’s incredibly painful. We always believed we were capable of a last-minute escape. We had the scores on the scoreboard here so it was teased in our faces,” Howe said.

“It hurts. I’m trying to keep it together. I’m really sad for the fans of this club.

“It’s small margins, there has been loads of moments during the season. As the manager I make hundreds of decisions and I haven’t been good enough this season.

“I’m not going to sit here and criticise the players in any way, I have to back them and support them. First I have to look at myself and that I will do.”

Bournemouth are one of the smallest clubs ever to play in the Premier League and Howe had worked miracles to keep them among the elite for so long.

Howe has been linked with a move away from Bournemouth after the difficult campaign and he admitted there is not much time to decide on the future before the 2020-21 season kicks off on September 12.

“Everything at the club is based around staying in the Premier League and I’ll speak to the people that I need to speak to. It’s a very quick turnaround and we have to make the right decisions now,” he said.

“My commitment, I can’t question. It is not down to a lack of effort. I am so sorry for the fans, you never plan not to achieve.”

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