Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe believes his side are going to face a number of new challenges which will make their second season in the Premier League more difficult.
The term “second season syndrome” has become more regularly used in recent years with likes of Middlesbrough, Bradford, West Brom and Reading all suffering after impressive debut seasons following promotion from the Championship. The Cherries finished the 2015-16 season on 42 points – just five above the relegation zone.
Howe believes the arrival of managers such as Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola, coupled with the introduction of new players like Paul Pogba, will make the league tougher.
He said: “I am expecting it to be harder (than last season).
“I think the novelty value will have gone from our players’ perspective, that is a challenge for us that they (should) respond to this season in a positive fashion, not a negative fashion.
“I think the quality of the league has gone up when you look at the quality of managers that have come in, the players that have been attracted to the league and the money that has been spent.
“I think we have improved but I think everybody else will have at the same time so the challenge is going to be tougher – and we need to make sure we respond.”
Howe: "#mufc coming to Bournemouth is a fantastic game. This will be a special game this season will be harder. It's a challenge."
— AFC Bournemouth (@afcbournemouth) August 12, 2016
Bournemouth only won five games at home last season and looking back on their first season in the top flight, the Cherries boss believes it was the only area he was disappointed in.
He said: “I think (the home form) would have to improve on last year, we didn’t win as many games as we liked.
“I think that is natural in the Premier League – you are not going to win as many games as you did in the Championship – but there were games I thought we should have won and we didn’t so our obvious goal is to try and improve our home form and maintain our away form.
“Our away form was pretty good in the main and we performed pretty well on the road, perhaps the only disappointment of the season was the fact we did not have many games here (at the Vitality Stadium) where we performed well in front of our own supporters.
“Our main target is to improve on last season. We had a good season, played well at times, had some good spells at times but if we can improve on all things then I will be more than happy.”