Bournemouth comprehensively lost their third-round tie at League One Millwall 3-0 on Saturday after making 11 changes to the team that played the previous league fixture. Afterwards Howe said he had been “excited” by the line-up he selected, but admitted they had failed to perform.
The match also provided a rare start for the £15m Ibe, but the former Liverpool winger failed to make a mark. “He hasn’t been a regular in the team and that will be a disappointment for him and for us.” Howe said of the Bermondsey-born forward. “I still feel there’s a lot of potential in there, but obviously he’s got to fulfil that when he gets chances like today.
“We picked players that we haven’t seen regularly in the Premier League, we gave them an opportunity to express themselves‚” he went on. “Individually they are very good players so I was excited to see it. Obviously the reality proved different.”
Bournemouth have now been knocked out of both domestic cup competitions after making wholesale alterations, losing 3-2 at home to Preston of the Championship in the EFL Cup this season. Howe insisted that the changes themselves had not been the cause of defeat, but rather a lack of familiarity between the players. Four of the starting XI at Millwall joined the club last summer.
“Last season and the season before we were very good in the cups,” Howe said. “We made wholesale changes and went on some really good runs. So it’s a surprise that this year it hasn’t been the same. But I think the reason for that would be the number of summer signings we’ve made and put together in the team. They haven’t quite gelled. I expected that early in the season, but you get to this point and you’d have expected better cohesion from the team today.”
Howe returns to the Premier League now facing defensive problems. Nathan Aké has been recalled to Chelsea from his loan period, Marc Wilson, a summer signing from Stoke, hobbled off in the dying minutes of the Millwall match and Simon Francis is serving a suspension after being sent off against Arsenal, a decision Bournemouth failed to have overturned on appeal.
One consolation for Howe, who admitted he may have to enter the transfer market to find replacements, was the return to the side of Tyrone Mings. The former Ipswich man, a former record signing for the south coast club, made only his second start for the team against Millwall, having ruptured a cruciate ligament only six minutes into his debut for the team at the start of last season. “I thought Tyrone gave his all in the game,” Howe said. “But as I say, it’s difficult to sit here and speak glowingly about people on the back of that performance.”
A final member of Saturday’s FA Cup side, the 22-year-old USA international Emerson Hyndman, looks set to leave on loan and join up with Rangers for the rest of the season.
Millwall thoroughly deserved their victory – courtesy of goals from Steve Morison, Shaun Cummings and Shane Ferguson – and go into Monday night’s draw with the knowledge that they are capable of beating sides from the top flight.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010
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