Eddie Howe believes Bournemouth’s 3-3 draw with Everton has demonstrated his team are capable of playing their way to survival.
The Cherries recovered from 2-0 and 3-2 down to rescue a point with Junior Stanislas’ 98th-minute goal.
Some observers have argued that Bournemouth lack the quality to take the game to superior opponents and have urged them to adopt a more pragmatic approach, but Howe viewed the point against Roberto Martinez’s side as a vindication of their style.
Recent performances show they are improving, and Howe said: “I think (the result) just reinforces the belief that we can compete and we can beat teams.
“Obviously it’s a point for us but it’s a point that further enhances our mentality into believing in the way that we’re playing and the fact that we can get points from situations which look pretty desperate.
“I don’t think there is a right way (to play) but I think it’s the right way for us and I think it reinforces the belief to the players that it can be successful at this level. I don’t doubt it for a moment in my mind, but I’m not playing, so the players have to believe.”
Adam Smith, whose outstanding finish inspired Bournemouth’s recovery, shares his manager’s belief and said that Saturday’s result has also given his team-mates the confidence they can survive.
“The character we showed at the end was amazing,” said the 24-year-old, whose goal came after Ramiro Funes Mori and Romelu Lukaku had given Everton what appeared a comfortable lead.
Smith and Stanislas pulled Bournemouth level, and Stanislas had the final word after Ross Barkley had scored what looked like being a 95th-minute winner.
“It showed why we think we are going to stay up,” Smith added.
“A lot of teams would have given up. There must have been only 20 seconds left and we showed great character to come back from that. We’ve always had that never-say-die attitude.
“We’ve got great confidence that we will survive. People keep saying we should change the way we play – the gaffer’s never going to do that. We are dominating teams. I don’t think we have got the players to play another way. We won’t change.
“It’s a big turning point. It gives us the confidence and belief that we can compete with any team. It’s a great feeling.”