CHRIS HUGHTON felt that Beram Kayal’s injury was a turning point in last night’s 2-0 defeat to Bournemouth and that Albion should have had a penalty when Matt Ritchie appeared to handle the ball inside the box.
He said, “I am very conscious that their two goals came after Kayal had gone off. Up until then I thought that him and Dale [Stephens] were the better two of the central midfield pairings. Bournemouth have two very good players there, but our lads had the better of the ball.
“Beram said he had a spasm in his back that was affecting his groin and his ability to open up and run. I wouldn't imagine that it's something which will keep him out for too long. It is really disappointing though, as I thought that with him we had a nice balance and and the game changed afterwards.
“The free-kick was a soft goal. We gave them an opportunity right outside the box and they have got quality there. The lad [Matt] Ritchie generally hits them, so it was a little surprise that [Yann] Kermorgant took it.
“It was a wonderful strike, but it was very close to our goal and it is disappointing that we have given them that opportunity.
“The penalty claim for us was absolute. We don’t get too many and at 1-0 it was critical. I thought at the time from Calde’s reaction and having watched it again, it was absolute.
“We now have four games left and we need more points to secure our position. We have said all along that we don’t want to have to rely on teams below us and that still applies. We need to ensure that we don’t have to go into the last few games of the season in the position that we are in now.”
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Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe praised his side’s defensive performance on the night and Yann Kermorgant’s technique, after he fired home a stunning free-kick.
He told BBC Radio Solent, “It was a huge game for us.
“They are a tough nut to crack and they play good football. We knew this was going to be a tough game and that’s why we’re delighted with the three points.
“I think it took even more importance, with the fact we didn’t play very well, because that’s where you need to find a way to win. That's when you also need to be really good defensively and I thought we were excellent.
“The back four and the guys in front really protected us well and that was a real highlight.
“You look back at the previous two games where we conceded early and made it difficult- that was a key, we stuck at it and we know we have match winners.
“We know we have people that can turn a game and tonight it was Yann’s turn with a fantastic free kick.
“He’s that type of player (Yann). We struggled to get him on the ball and it was very tight and congested in the middle of the pitch.
“We had a lot of the ball but didn’t really look like penetrating them. That’s when you need to have players of his technical ability. I’ve seen him do it 100 times in training.”