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Bournemouth must face up to relegation battle, says Howe

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By Reuters
Bournemouth must face up to relegation battle, says Howe
FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Premier League - AFC Bournemouth v Liverpool - Vitality Stadium, Bournemouth, Britain - December 7, 2019 Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe Action Images via Reuters/Matthew Childs   -   Copyright  MATTHEW CHILDS(Reuters)
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(Reuters) – Bournemouth have to accept they are battling to avoid relegation but are unlikely to be in a position to freshen up the squad in January despite an injury crisis at the club, manager Eddie Howe has said.

Bournemouth are 15th in the Premier League on 16 points, one point above the drop zone, following Saturday’s 3-0 defeat by leaders Liverpool.

“We’re in a relegation battle now,” Howe told British media after watching his team slump to their fifth defeat in a row.

“I think you’ve got to be realistic … If you don’t talk about it and hide from it, it can loom up on you without you realising it.”

Defender Nathan Ake and striker Callum Wilson were both injured on Saturday, taking Bournemouth’s total number of injured players to nine but Howe said the club would find it hard to bring in reinforcements.

“I think the difficulty with January – there’s a combination of things,” he said. “The money that players would cost, the quality of players you can attract is very difficult.

“If we can find something there that may be a bonus, but I think we have to focus on the players we have.”

Bournemouth next face fourth-placed Chelsea in the league on Saturday.

(Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru)