Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe feels his side are edging ever closer to getting a first Premier League result against Manchester City.
The Cherries head into Sunday’s encounter at The Vitality Stadium on the back of victory at promoted Aston Villa to get the new campaign up and running.
However, Bournemouth have yet to take a point off City since earning their own place in the top flight four years ago – and historically have never beaten the club in a competitive fixture.
Howe feels Bournemouth should use such a poor return against City to help lift their performance on Sunday.
“The two (performances) against them last season were pretty strong, they were tight games,” the Bournemouth boss said.
“We lost 3-1 away, but were in the game until the last 20 minutes and then the game here was very tight, we lost by the odd goal.
“But we felt we were competitive without showing our best attributes. We managed to limit their main strengths for spells of the games.
“They’ve just got quality and they can hurt you in any moment of the game and we’ve just come on the wrong side of the games against them, but I’d like to think we are getting closer.”
Howe continued at a press conference: “I would not say that (record) frustrates me, it inspires me.
“We’ve got to try and turn that around and use that record to inspire us in this game.
“I don’t think we’re the only team to suffer a bad record against Manchester City in recent years, they are an outstanding team.
“Every time we’ve played against them we’ve come off the pitch learning more about ourselves and what we have to do to grow and become better.
“We try and embrace these challenges and not look at it fearfully.”
City opened the campaign with a 5-0 trashing of West Ham, where Raheem Sterling scored a hat-trick.
The England forward, who also scored in last weekend’s 2-2 draw with Tottenham, has proved too hot for Bournemouth to handle in their encounters, with some eight goals since a first meeting during October 2015.
Howe, though, believes – while the 24-year-old is undoubtedly a class act – his team will have plenty of other things to worry about on Sunday.
“He’s a player who’s done very well against us in recent seasons and he is an outstanding talent,” said the Bournemouth manager.
“He’s added a huge consistent run of goals to his game which has made him even better and he is certainly someone who we’ll have to keep quiet and nullify his strengths.
“You look through their team, though, and they have got other players in the attacking positions that you are going to have to deal with.”
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