Gary O’Neil expects a tough test when Bournemouth travel to recently rejuvenated Leeds on Saturday.
Leeds sit 15th in the Premier League table, just one point and place below O’Neil’s Cherries, and enter the clash bolstered by a 2-1 win at Liverpool in their last outing.
It snapped an eight-game Premier League winless streak for Jesse Marsch’s side, who O’Neil admitted he expected more from so far this campaign.
“Yeah, I’m really surprised they are where they are in the league,” said O’Neil.
“I’ve looked at, they come up really well on all their sort of numbers and stats, chances created, they have big energy, press really aggressively, probably the highest pressing team in the league, so they have a real clear identity.
“It [was] a massive result at Anfield for them, so it will be a big test going to Elland Road. It’s always a tough place to go, especially the way they play at the moment, so front foot and so aggressive, so it will be a good test for us.”
The Cherries, meanwhile, are looking to bounce back from three consecutive losses, the worst string of results since O’Neil took the reins following Scott Parker’s August departure.
The Cherries looked set to draw with Spurs last Saturday before Rodrigo Bentancur scored a second-half stoppage-time winner.
“I wouldn’t call [the run] unlucky,” he said, “it’s just the nature of the Premier League. I think we can go out in every game, give 100 per cent, and there’s still a chance we can lose it. That’s just the nature of it.
“So long as it looks like us, as long as it is fully committed, as long as we give a good account of ourselves, we accept the chips will land where they land, and hopefully enough of them come out on our side.”
Whether O’Neil comes out the other side of the Leeds clash still with the title of Bournemouth caretaker manager is also to be determined, with just three more games to play before the World Cup break.
He added: “I’m just preparing to take the next one at the moment and then we’ll see where we go after that. I’ve been tasked as I was from the start with taking the next game, and that’s as far ahead as we look at the moment.”