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Cherries boss Howe dishes out praise in defeat
8:51am Wednesday 16th January 2013 in Football League
Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe praised his players following the narrow defeat against Wigan in their FA Cup third-round replay.
A first-half strike from Mauro Boselli was enough to settle the close-fought tie in Wigan's favour, although the Barclays Premier League side had the woodwork to thank for preventing an upset as both Eunan O'Kane and Mark Pugh rattled the crossbar during the 90 minutes.
It is the first time Howe has tasted defeat since he returned as Cherries boss, a club record equalling run of 18 matches, but the former Burnley manager was pleased with the effort from his side.
"It was a really good game and Wigan showed us a lot of respect with the team they picked," he said. "It was a strong team and we were slightly disappointed with our first-half performance.
"In the second half that all changed and we had a right go at Wigan and threw everything at them and, apart from their goalkeeper making some good saves and the woodwork, I think we would have deservedly forced extra-time.
"It was a really good effort from the players, we did not necessarily lose it and I think Wigan won it - if a team was going to beat us they were going to have to earn it."
Boselli's goal came courtesy of a mistake from Bournemouth midfielder Harry Arter, who lost possession to the Argentina striker before he fired Wigan ahead, and Howe acknowledged that - against top-flight opponents, such errors do not go unpunished.
"That is the difference between the levels really," he said.
"On another day we would have got away with that mistake but we didn't and we got punished. Fair play to the lads though because we stayed in the game when it would have been easy to go chasing the game too early.
"We wanted to stay in the game and give ourselves a platform to be in it and then if we needed to chase we could and I think we chased the game really well and really responsibly."
Wigan will now face a trip to Blue Square Premier outfit Macclesfield in round four but their manager Roberto Martinez was impressed by what he saw from a battling Bournemouth side.
"It was a very difficult game as we expected," he said.
"We know that Bournemouth have been unbeaten and it doesn't matter at what level you do that at because you have got a very strong unit.
"I must admit Bournemouth deserve huge, huge credit over the two games in the manner they play football and I think it is going to bring real success to this football club.
"We knew that we had nothing to win today and had to be very professional; really, really strong and I couldn't be more proud of my players. When you make nine changes it is not easy."
Although he only named Emmerson Boyce and Maynor Figueroa from the weekend's side, Martinez did not feel he was putting Wigan's FA Cup run in jeopardy by utilising his squad.
Teenagers Fraser Fyvie and Angelo Henriquez, as well as 20-year-old Roman Golobart, all started for the Latics and Martinez was pleased with their contributions.
When asked if he was taking a chance by naming an inexperienced side Martinez said: "No, it is not a risk, a risk would be not to give the opportunity to youngsters.
"The future of our football club relies on having a strong development path for our youngsters and it is all good for me to say that and not give opportunities to the young players.
"I will always take responsibility for the results but the young players will have an opportunity at Wigan Athletic.
"I'm very proud with the coaching staff and everyone involved because to make nine changes and to be able to be a team and perform in the manner we did today in a professional way should make everyone extremely proud."