Former Clarets boss Eddie Howe feels Championship leaders Burnley can go all the way this season.
Howe’s Bournemouth ended Burnley’s run of four successive home league wins, but were denied a first ever win at Turf Moor by former Cherries striker Danny Ings, who cancelled out Tokelo Rantie’s spectacular opener.
The point took the Clarets two clear at the top, unbeaten in 11 league games, and Howe said on his first return to the club he left just over a year ago: “From my perspective I’ve got no bitterness, I want the club to do well. I ‘d love the club to get promoted to the Premier League.
“From what I’ve seen in the division they’re definitely up there with one of the strongest sides we’ve played – more in terms of their honesty and endeavour and work-rate – and added to that they’ve got quality players in key positions.”
Howe received a good reception, respectful of the work he put in during just under two years in charge, and he admitted: “It was a strange one for me.
“It was a difficult game. I didn’t want to build it up to my players.
“It obviously meant a lot to me to try to get a performance out of the team, to try to put on a display and more importantly try to get some points to take back to Bournemouth.
“But it was quite an emotional day. I’m really pleased with the reception we got from the Burnley supporters, I’m very thankful for that, and hopefully they see that I did my best while I was here and hopefully there’s no bitterness on either side.”
Howe came over to applaud the home fans at the final whistle, and he explained: “I certainly didn’t plan it, but I just felt they treated me very well when we were here, very well today. Unless I’ve got selective hearing I didn’t hear any derogatory comments, and I appreciate that because we’re all human beings at the end of the day and trying to do an honest job.”
And he was relatively happy with the point after Ings’ late leveller: “I think when you’re 1-0 up with the time left in the game of course you’re disappointed not to win but I thought it was a really honest game against two very honest teams.
“Burnley play very aggressively on the front foot, put a lot of long balls in your box and you’ve got to defend them well.
“If there’s been a criticism of us this season defensively has been the area but I thought we responded with a really good display.
“I’m disappointed to concede the goal but in the main our two centre halves and the players in front of the goalkeeper Lee Camp protected him very well.
“We scored a terrific goal and yes with the time left in the game we were hoping we could win it.
“We knew we needed to be at our best, the centre halves needed a big performance and both Elliott and Steven were very very good. Both I think made goalsaving tackles in the first half and second half, so that’s really pleasing for us going forward.
“I think we’ve got goals in us as a team, but improving that defensive record will be a priority for us.”
Ings and Sam Vokes were both signed by Howe, and both are Bournemouth old boys, but the visitors couldn’t keep them out despite his inside knowledge: “We knew pretty much how to prepare for them.
“We knew what type of game it was going to be. There were no surprises.
“When you play against Burnley the front two, and Sam in particular is a real focal point for them and you’ve got to deal with that threat first and foremost.
“In the main we coped pretty well.
“We adjusted our style of play slightly in prepartion for this game because I felt we had to.
“If we were our normal open expansive free flowing football I think it would be a difficult game for us on what is quite a tight pitch and with Burnley how they play and press the life out of teams we didn’t really want to fall into that trap.
“We adjusted things slightly and it made for a more scrappy game I think, but thankfully we came out with something from it.”
Ings looked like he should have had a second half penalty after a shove from Elliott Ward, which would also have led to a red card, but, asked if he thought it was a foul, Howe said: “No I don’t, and I’m adamant on that.
“I think I’m pretty fair - people who know me in this room.
“Thankfully the referee didn’t bow to the pressure of the crowd.”