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Howe hails Bournemouth defence

Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe paid tribute to his side's defence after their gritty 1-0 Championship victory at struggling Blackpool.

Last weekend, the Cherries saw off Doncaster 5-0 in a flowing display but at Bloomfield Road - where Blackpool have not won since November 30 - it was a cagey affair with Lewis Grabban notching the only goal from the penalty spot.

"I think it meant a great deal for both sides," said Howe. "It was a big game, we knew that.

"The last two games for us have been huge at Doncaster and Blackpool and we knew this was going to be a tough game.

"We were under no illusions, despite their long wait for a win we knew that they would give everything to turn their season around and I think it made it a cagey affair.

"There was a lack of quality (compared to) normal from us but I think it was a real gritty performance. We were very good defensively. I'm really pleased with the back-to-back clean sheets because that's really important for us.

"It was two totally different performances. One totally fluent passing, creating chances at will against Doncaster on Saturday, and today I would say it was a typical away performance.

"We defended for our lives, we defended our box really well, we defended direct play really well."

Blackpool, who have now failed to win any of their last 18 games in all competitions, began nervously but Stephen Dobbie tested Cherries keeper Lee Camp in their best chance of the first half.

Matt Ritchie was Bournemouth's main threat throughout, but it was Grabban who was felled on 48 minutes by Blackpool keeper Matt Gilks inside the box.

The former Rotherham striker dusted himself down to slot home his 14th Championship goal of the season.

Barry Ferguson, who is still searching for his first win as Blackpool's caretaker boss, said: "I'm disappointed and I'm angry.

"I can only do so much in terms of preparing them right and training them right. At the end of the day, they need to go out there at three o'clock and produce.

"As weeks go on, the pressure is getting bigger and bigger, can they handle the pressure? I don't know and they will need to start showing me that they can and that's a worry for me.

"When I was a player I always liked a bit of pressure. I've always thrived on it. Maybe some can't but as the weeks go on, the last two weeks especially, I'm starting to learn more and more about the players.

"I'll always back my players in terms of if they make a mistake, it doesn't bother me. If they make a bad pass, take a bad touch, that doesn't concern me. All I ask is that they give me 100 per cent."