Eddie Howe hailed his Bournemouth side’s “dream start” as they ended a four-game losing streak with a 2-1 win over Huddersfield.
The Cherries had lost to Newcastle, Manchester United, Arsenal and Manchester City in recent weeks but goals in the opening 22 minutes from Callum Wilson and Ryan Fraser got them back on track.
They did have to battle for the three points after that, though, as the Terriers came back strongly and made a game of it through Terence Kongolo’s header shortly before the break.
Howe was relieved to end his side’s drought and was grateful to their fast start.
“It’s a big relief, it was a very, very tough game,” he said. “We anticipated it would be, we respect Huddersfield a lot, I think they play a really good brand of football, they press really well.
“We knew it was going to be tough for us, we got the ideal start, a dream start really and looked in total control at that point.
“But they threw caution to the wind, put a lot of bodies forward of the ball and played very, very well, so credit to them for that.
“But credit to my players also for how we responded in the second half and repel their aerial bombardment, we dealt with that really well in the second period.”
It looked like an easy evening was on the cards thanks to those early goals from Wilson and Fraser.
Wilson headed home his eighth goal of the campaign – in his 15th appearance – when he was left unmarked from Fraser’s free-kick in just the fifth minute.
The pair reversed their roles 17 minutes later as Wilson laid it on a plate for Fraser to roll home from the edge of the area.
But Huddersfield launched a comeback and after three brilliant saves by Asmir Begovic they finally reduced their deficit through Kongola’s header.
Despite long periods of possession and territorial advantage after the break, they could not find a leveller and left without the point everyone but manager David Wagner thought they deserved.
The German said: “I would like to make it clear, I don’t think we deserved anything out of the game because defensively we gave two easy goals away, which were presents.
“Offensively we haven’t put the chances away, you can’t hope for something out of football matches.
“Yes, everything in between was good, we played well, it was a very good performance, we were brave, we pressed them high, we created good chances but we gave Christmas presents away and that is why we didn’t deserve something out of this game.
“We know exactly what we have done well today, everyone has seen it, but we know exactly what we have to do better to collect points.
“If we continue to perform like today and continue to create opportunities we have to put them away.
“This isn’t the first time in the season, we have had a lot of praise for our performances, but we have to make a few things better.
“The season is on, we are in the middle of the race and we know exactly what we have to do better.”