Bournemouth boss Gary O’Neil has expressed his delight for Dango Ouattara after the dramatic late goal last weekend that gave the forward a “lift”.
January signing Ouattara, having been dropped from the starting line-up for Saturday’s match at Tottenham, subsequently came off the bench to score his first Cherries goal in stoppage time, sealing a 3-2 victory.
Speaking at a press conference ahead of Sunday’s home clash with West Ham, O’Neil said: “It gave him a lift, definitely.
“He’s had quite a few goal involvements, assists and been involved in some of our more dangerous attacks, so he’s had some good moments, but that one was obviously a big one.
“I’m pleased for him, because he’d obviously started a lot of football matches and then came off against Leicester (a week earlier) and then came out of the starting XI for the first time.
“So to have that impact off the bench, and especially the nature of the goal, because it was a big moment, showed real composure, nice finish – he was already in a good place, but I’m sure it’s given him a lift.”
The tee-up for Ouattara’s goal game from Dominic Solanke, who also registered an assist when Matias Vina – another January recruit opening his Bournemouth account – made it 1-1, and then scored himself to put the visitors 2-1 up.
O’Neil said of Solanke, scorer of five Premier League goals this term and six in all competitions: “I think unless you watch Dom regularly and closely, some of the stuff he does can go without being noticed.
“I expect more of him, of course, because of how good he is. I expect him to score goals and to be involved in the goals we score, as well as the incredible work he does for the team in and out of possession.”
After the game Tottenham acting head coach Cristian Stellini headed straight down the tunnel without waiting to shake O’Neil’s hand.
O’Neil has confirmed a handshake did come later, saying: “We bumped into each other after I did some of the media stuff and we shook hands at that point.”
The result was a third win in four games and fifth in nine for Bournemouth, who are currently 14th in the table, six points clear of the relegation zone with seven games remaining.
David Moyes’ West Ham, who were in Europa Conference League action on Thursday night as they beat Gent at home to advance to the semi-finals, are one place and two points behind, having played one match fewer.