Harry Arter hailed Eddie Howe for sticking to his philosophy after Bournemouth earned a memorable 1-0 win at Premier League champions Chelsea.
Eight matches without a win – since defeating Sunderland on September 19 – left many commentators pondering whether Howe might have to sacrifice Bournemouth’s attractive style of play to stay in the top flight.
But the Cherries fully merited victory at Stamford Bridge through Glenn Murray’s goal in a result which Howe described as the best in a history which has seen the club flirt with extinction.
Arter told Cherries Player: “A lot of people have spoken about changing the way we play and every great team never changes the way they play if they’ve had a few indifferent results.
“The manager’s key to that, that’s why he’s going to be one of the best managers in the country.
“It’s good that our philosophy, which has been criticised, has come out on top.
“To come here, the champions last year, and to perform the way we did was unbelievable.”
The performance was in the planning and the execution, Arter says.
“These are the sort of games you want to get promoted for and the grounds you want to come and play at,” he added.
“In a way they’re free games you’re never expect to win. You come here as a learning experience, probably more learning than you hope to get a result.
“(But) we put pressure on ourselves to win. The manager started his game plan on Monday and it wasn’t just by luck. We worked hard for that performance.”
It was also a second clean sheet of the season, after the one against Sunderland.
Boruc delighted by clean sheet
Goalkeeper Artur Boruc returned from a six-week injury lay off and denied Chelsea time and again.
Like Arter, Boruc was pleased the Cherries’ style was rewarded.
“We are keen to always try and play our way,” he said.
“That is to keep the ball, pass out from the back and play open, attacking football.
“But it’s important as well that we can make it count. We did that and I am sure that will be most pleasing for all of the lads.”
“It’s a big result for the players and the club.
“Personally I am delighted to keep a clean sheet – that’s very important to me.
“Chelsea played well and had a lot of possession, but we were able to go down the other end, take our chance and get a goal.”
Howe on Chelsea penalty appeal
Howe, meanwhile, disagreed with Jose Mourinho’s view that Chelsea should have had a penalty when a Diego Costa cut-back hit Simon Francis on the arm.
“I think Simon’s committed to his slide,” Howe said. “His arm’s there, it’s not moved towards the ball. I think that would’ve been extremely harsh.”
On the magnitude of the win for a club who have flirted with extinction, Howe said: “I think it’s at the very top.
“We’ve never been in the Premier League before, so when you come to the champions and beat them, I think it must rank as the best individual result of the club’s history.”
It meant even more for the Cherries given the injuries to key personnel this season.
“It gives the players some reward for how hard they’ve worked,” Howe added.
“It’s only one game but it does give us a huge boost going into the Christmas period.”
Next for Bournemouth is Manchester United on the south coast.
Matt Ritchie said: “I wouldn’t have thought they’d fancy it. We’ll try to make it a tough game for them.”