Bournemouth boss Gary O'Neil leans on team bonding for Premier League survival
A Philip Billing strike was enough to seal a 1-0 victory over Jurgen Klopp's side at the Vitality Stadium last weekend, taking Bournemouth off the bottom of the table and level on points with both Leicester and West Ham. They now travel to face Aston Villa on Saturday and, with West Ham not playing, a draw could be enough to take O'Neil's men out of the relegation zone. The Bournemouth squad went into the week in high spirits following their victory and O'Neil revealed some team bonding has only strengthened the cause. "On Monday afternoon a few of them thought it was a really good idea to do something together," he said of the squad's shooting and barbeque get together. "We've had a lot of new players come in, I was in full support of it and I thought it'd be a nice idea. They had a little afternoon, a local place, a few team-bonding exercises and a lot of smiles and everyone had a nice afternoon. "(Captain) Neto played a big part in it for us. The lads had a good day and then they were back in and ready to work. "We had a good session Tuesday morning as well. So it's been a good week. They're in a good place and the proof of that will be Saturday from 3pm to 5pm."
Bournemouth will be aiming to complete the double over Villa having beaten them 2-0 on the opening day of the campaign as they marked their return to the top flight with three points. Since then, O'Neil has replaced Scott Parker while Unai Emery has taken over in the Villa dugout. "They're a very different side now," O'Neil said of Saturday's opponents. "They're very different now to how they were then, their form under Unai Emery has been very, very good. "Since he took charge they are right up at the top part of the league form-wise, they're a good side and it will be another very, very tough game for us, definitely."
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