Cherries boss Howe defends his team selection

Date published: Saturday 9th January 2016 6:33

Eddie Howe : Bournemouth boss praised his players after victory

Eddie Howe defended his team selection after the Bournemouth boss made 11 changes for the club’s 2-1 FA Cup win at Birmingham City.

Glenn Murray’s late winner sent the Cherries through to the fourth round as they came from behind to win at St Andrew’s.

Lee Tomlin’s penalty cancelled out Michael Morrison’s opener while Blues’ James Vaughan skied a second-half spot-kick.

The Cherries, 16th in the Barclays Premier League, host West Ham on Tuesday before welcoming relegation rivals Norwich on Saturday and Howe wanted to rest his big stars.

“When there’s a Premier League game in three days’ time we wanted to protect the majority of our squad while still putting out a team who could win the game,” he said, as well as confirming the club had reached a deal with Wolves for striker Benik Afobe.

“It’s a delicate balance. By no means did we pick a team to do anything other than win but with Tuesday in mind, it was wise to make the changes we did.

“We’re very pleased to have got through. It was a tough game, Gary (Rowett) has got Birmingham very well organised. It was no surprise to us we had to work very hard to win.”

Howe gave defender Jordan Lee his debut while also naming Jordan Green, who was stacking supermarket shelves and playing for Banbury last year, on the bench.

And the second-string Cherries survived a scare as Vaughan missed his penalty with the scores locked at 1-1 before Jacques Maghoma hit the post.

Howe added: “Our penalty was one of those which could be a 50-50 call. I have seen them given.

“I thought their penalty was quite predictable in a sense that the stick the referee was getting meant that any type of contact he was going to give one. I thought Eunan (O’Kane) had pulled out of the challenge.”

Vaughan is still looking for his first Blues goal after sealing a second loan move from Huddersfield, which he will make permanent at the end of the season, but boss Gary Rowett refused to blame the striker.

He said: “He’s a Birmingham fan, his dad probably stands in that Tilton End and you imagine at the moment we got that penalty, he’s thinking ‘finally it’s my chance to get that first goal in Blues colours’. The added pressure made him snatch and tense up.

“He’s apologised to the lads in the dressing room but he certainly doesn’t have to do that. If we miss a penalty we all rally round him because we’re a team.

“I thought both penalties weren’t penalties. Once again, some of the decisions made were fairly baffling. I know they’re difficult decisions but I seem to say the same thing every week. It makes the game incredibly frustrating.”

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