Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe has challenged his squad not to take their eyes off the small details and sustain a promising start to the Premier League campaign.
The Cherries travel to Arsenal on Sunday out to extend a three-match unbeaten league run which has seen them very much enter contention for a top-six place.
However, Howe knows things can quickly head in the opposite direction again, with the shortcomings over the second half of the previous season dampening hopes of progress.
“There is no benefit from thinking things like that,” Howe said when asked if a top-six finish was a realistic goal.
“You just have to concentrate on how the team has got to function, how the team is going to play.
“For me that is on the training ground every day, making sure that we get the levels and standards that we expect, trying to make the team play better in every way.
“As we go through the season and through the really congested Christmas period and get to January, then we will look how we are doing.”
Howe told a press conference: “The ambition is there, but we have to make sure we don’t take our eye off what is going to influence those results at the moment.”
Bournemouth drew 2-2 at home against West Ham last weekend, following on from their Premier League victory at Southampton.
Howe feels his side must continue to show the required mentality if they are to consistently pick up points on the road.
“Our away form has been strong. At the start of the season we played confidence and resilience away from home, which you need,” Howe said.
“Mentally we have been very strong, now we need to hopefully improve the areas where we feel we can tweak and get better at.
“If we can do that while keeping the mentality, then we have got a chance.
“We have got a chance in every Premier League game if the best ‘us’ turns up – and we have to make sure we do that on Sunday. ”
The Emirates Stadium, though, has not proven a happy hunting ground.
Last season, Arsenal raced into a 2-0 lead, eventually running out 5-1 winners.
Howe feels establishing a foothold in the game will be crucial.
“If we can learn from those previous games and show better resilience earlier in the game, we will give ourselves a chance,” he said.
“However, we will have to perform at our maximum levels to get something.”
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