Parker hails youngsters after Bournemouth held by WBA

Jason Soutar
Scott Parker

Bournemouth manager Scott Parker has praised his young players as his inexperienced side opened the Sky Bet Championship season with a 2-2 draw against West Bromwich Albion.

The Cherries had four academy graduates in their starting line-up, with seven more on the bench as they earned a hard-earned point against the recently relegated side.

The Vitality Stadium club took the lead twice against the Baggies, being denied all three points by a Callum Robinson goal.

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Two sides with Premier League aspirations, Parker and Valerien Ismael took charge of their first league fixture with their new clubs.

Ismael made the switch from Barnsley in June, whereas the ex-Tottenham Hotspur player left Fulham to join Bournemouth.

Parker said: “Welcome to the Championship! I am immensely proud of the team and the players.

“That was a football match against a very experienced side who constantly looked to put us under pressure with their physical presence and playing for corners and set plays.

“We had a young, young team out there and I am immensely proud of what they stood up to. It can be tough sometimes and it was tonight.

“We are missing a few players and hopefully those boys will be coming back in the coming weeks to strengthen us and we know we still need to add to the squad.

“I have been nothing but impressed with these young boys. Their experience of the Championship will not become more physical and more brutal than it did tonight.

“I thought we showed our qualities at times and showed how good we can be.

“I’m ecstatic with what the young boys have done but it is clear we need a bit more strength in depth.

“It’s not through a lack of trying. There is dialogue, almost by the hour to try and get players in but it is a tough market.”

West Brom manager Ismael was pleased with his team, saying: “For an opening game it was entertaining. We gave a lot of answers.

“In the first half we were on top with our intensity, but Bournemouth were clinical with the goal they scored.

“Throughout the game we showed a good mentality to come back from behind twice.

“Bournemouth were strong as we expected with a lot of possession and clear build up.

“I saw a lot of positive points tonight and we just need to improve our confidence and clarity.”