After being held at home by Championship strugglers Reading, it seemed Scott Parker’s side had taken a step back once again. However, in a clinical Bournemouth performance, they bounced back in convincing fashion against promotion rivals Huddersfield Town.
Following a patchy run that saw promotion-chasing Bournemouth drop consecutive points against Preston North End and Peterborough United, fans began to question manager Scott Parker’s tactical approach. A 2-0 win at home to Derby County seemingly simmered tensions between sections of the fanbase and Parker before the Cherries backtracked once more only managing a point against Reading.
A supposed lack of a clinical edge was one critique of the side during this period, especially in these games where Parker’s side failed to take the chances they were creating. The former Fulham boss was absent from the touchline in the Reading draw after accepting charges for misconduct following the Preston defeat.
However, in a fixture that saw Bournemouth billed against fellow promotion chasers Huddersfield, the Dorset outfit returned to their brilliant best with a dominant display reminding us of how ruthless this side can be under Parker – reminiscent of their start to the season.
Clinical Bournemouth Bounce Back With Huddersfield Town Win
Parker Praises ‘Brave’ Cherries
The south-coast club enjoyed a relatively comfortable performance making a statement of intent as they dominated their opposition. Parker’s Bournemouth controlled possession, recording 62% whilst showing a revitalised killer instinct in front of goal.
Speaking after the win, as quoted by the Bournemouth Echo, Scott Parker acknowledged Lewis Cook’s comments on the side’s ‘brave’ approach. Parker said: “That’s exactly probably the way I’d put it. I thought it was a real brave performance from us in the sense that I asked the players in the way we want to play, they need to be brave and you put them in situations which at times are difficult but that’s the way we need to play, that’s the way we need to execute and that’s the way we need to win games.
“I asked them to play free today. We’ve been on a journey, still young in our development and a real freedom about us in the way we play and I thought we did that. I thought we had a confidence and a strut about us but also a real humbleness about us in terms of understanding what we need to bring to every game.”
More Support in Attack for Solanke
One of the key issues this Bournemouth side faced in this patchy run was the isolation of the club’s top scorer Dominic Solanke in attack where the former Liverpool forward had lacked support from the midfield.
In the 3-0 victory at the John Smith’s Stadium, Solanke netted his 23rd Championship goal of the season with an audacious flicked finish following a brilliant team move– only Fulham’s Aleksandar Mitrović has more with 35 this season so far.
With Parker’s preferred 4-3-3 setup, there is emphasis on the extra attack support coming from the central midfielders whilst one player sits covering the defence – a role adopted by Lewis Cook. In this case, Philip Billing and Jefferson Lerma both played these roles with the latter getting on the scoresheet to make it 2-0.
With Parker’s possession-based approach, the two central midfielders can support the front three to effectively transition into a five-man attack including the wingers to overwhelm the opposition’s defence. This tactical change was on full display in the dominant win at Huddersfield ensuring Solanke was not isolated. This same approach was deployed in the Reading draw where Parker’s men dropped off after taking the lead, however, this time it bore fruit.
Clinical Edge Can Send Bournemouth to the Premier League
In what may have been a mere lapse in form, Bournemouth remain in the automatic play-off place which if sustained, can guarantee a return to the promised land of the Premier League.
Post-match scenes = things we 𝗟𝗢𝗩𝗘 to see 💪 pic.twitter.com/5pfFfW5cdp
— AFC Bournemouth 🍒 (@afcbournemouth) March 19, 2022
The clinical edge that was on display from Bournemouth is key for the side to see out the season comfortably without falling into the scramble that is the play-offs. This is arguably the bare minimum requirement for the club who were tipped from the start as contenders as well as the numerous recruitments made in January.
In the interview with AFCBTV, regarding his side’s approach to the run-in, Parker said: “We don’t need to change, we need to keep learning and we need to keep working tirelessly hard.
“What I do want the boys to understand, with ten games to go now, it becomes psychological as well.”
Parker’s awareness of the limitations for error in the Championship is on show and the Huddersfield win can only give the side confidence knowing that the ability to gather pace once again is always there with the quality in the squad.
Bournemouth are eight points off of leaders Fulham with a game in hand knowing room for error is growing finer than ever as the end of the season approaches. If Parker’s men can continue with the clinical and ruthless mentality that was on show at Huddersfield, there is no reason why they cannot secure promotion and even push Fulham to the line this season.
Embed from Getty Images