Eddie Howe says the relegation of Aston Villa, Newcastle United and Norwich City from the Premier League highlights the size of Bournemouth’s achievement in staying up.
Newcastle and Norwich dropped into the Championship on Wednesday night as a consequence of Sunderland’s victory over Everton, with the Magpies having spent £80million on new players to no avail.
Howe’s men have never truly been drawn into the relegation scrap despite their smaller stature and budget, and the failure of bigger clubs to survive has made him realise what an astonishing feat that is.
Howe said: “When you look at the size of the clubs that have gone down, their history, their fan base, the size of the grounds, it does bring home the size of the achievement that our players have done.
“At the start of the season no one would have given us a chance of staying up and then we got the injuries and we had a choice which way we went from that moment.
“We went and stood up and faced it and have done really well and I don’t think we should underestimate what the players have done when you consider the pressure, it was nice not to be involved (in the relegation battle) in that moment.”
Howe is also delighted that Bournemouth will be involved in one of the few Premier League games on Sunday still with something riding on the outcome.
The Cherries round off their maiden top-flight campaign with a trip to Old Trafford, where hosts Manchester United must win to stand any chance of qualifying for next season’s Champions League.
Louis van Gaal’s men can still finish fourth if they win and bitter rivals Manchester City lose at Swansea, and Howe cannot wait for his side to have a say on the key remaining outstanding issue in the English top flight.
Howe added: “It is nice to be involved in a game that means something.
“The last few games have been difficult for us because we have not been a team that are used to not having that competitive edge.
“In the last few seasons there has always been something on every game and we have become very accustomed to it and embraced the pressure and relished it in some ways.”
Howe on Stockley move
Meanwhile, Howe claims Jayden Stockley has been a victim of Bournemouth’s success after the striker signed a pre-contract deal with Scottish Premiership side Aberdeen.
Stockley made his Cherries debut in 2009 at the age of 16, with the south coast club then playing in the fourth tier.
A number of loan deals have followed for the 22-year-old, the latest at Sky Bet League Two side Exeter this season, while Bournemouth have since risen to earn a place in the Premier League.
Grecians manager Paul Tisdale has twice offered Stockley a permanent deal but the forward has opted to head north of the border instead, and Howe holds no grudges.
The Cherries boss said: “We wish him well, he is a player that has been with us a long time and has probably been a victim of our success and the speed of our success.
“He is someone who we rated very highly when we were in the League Two days and we believed he had a big future here.
“But the team has moved forward, now we are in the Premier League it becomes more and more difficult for younger players to come through.
“We wish him well, it is a good move for him at Aberdeen and we hope he goes on to huge success.”