Gary O’Neil lavished praise on super sub Marcus Tavernier after his wonder goal inspired Bournemouth to a comeback 2-1 win over Fulham that moved the Cherries out of the Premier League relegation zone.
Bournemouth looked to be heading for a third defeat in four games after Andreas Pereira’s 16th-minute strike saw them go in at half-time 1-0 down.
But Tavernier’s majestic curling effort only five minutes after coming off the bench, coupled with Dominic Solanke’s scrappy goal 11 minutes from time, earned the Cherries what could prove a pivotal win.
O’Neil said: “I don’t want to big him up too much because I don’t want anyone to come and take him but he’s a good footballer.
“At top clubs you have players who are gifted technically and players that are gifted physically. Marcus Tavernier has both.
“It was an incredible goal. I can’t believe we needed a strike that good to score. It was a big goal.
“I felt that energy in the dressing room that even if we went 1-0 down today there would be a refusal to lose that football match.
“We’re so determined to get to where we want to get to. It was impressive from my players.”
Even without the suspended duo of Willian and Aleksandar Mitrovic, European hopefuls Fulham dominated the first half.
Willian’s replacement Manor Solomon broke free down the left before cutting the ball back for Harrison Reed to tee up Pereira to fire home a first league goal since November.
That lead could have been doubled seven minutes later when roaming full-back Antonee Robinson rattled the crossbar from 22 yards out.
Pereira’s acrobatic overhead kick had Bournemouth goalkeeper Neto momentarily concerned before flying over the crossbar.
Bournemouth rarely threatened in the opening 45 minutes but it was a different story once Tavernier and Ryan Christie were brought on for the second half.
Marcos Senesi had already come close to equalising from close range when Tavernier brilliantly picked out the top corner with a 20-yard left-footed curler.
Berndt Leno denied Tavernier his second with a smart near-post save while Jefferson Lerma’s shot was deflected onto the roof of the net.
Solanke grabbed the winner in the 79th minute by scrambling the ball in from close range after Christie’s initial shot had been parried by Leno.
Fulham boss Marco Silva said: “It was so good how we started the game and how we controlled the first half.
“We had a clear plan and the players took this plan, but we just had a lack of killer instinct to score the second goal.
“The second half was completely different and difficult to understand.
“We prepared the players for what was coming and we knew that we had to start really strong in the second half and we didn’t do it.
“We have to analyse why this happens because we can’t show two faces like we did today.”