Bournemouth defender Steve Cook has demanded greater commitment from his team-mates after branding the dismal first-half display of Saturday’s 2-1 defeat to Wolves “inexcusable”.
The Cherries were given a mountain to climb following goals from Joao Moutinho and Raul Jimenez and the dismissal of captain Simon Francis inside a costly opening 37 minutes.
Centre-back Cook halved the deficit with a 59th-minute header during a vastly improved second period but the hosts were left to rue a sloppy start.
Defeat at the Vitality Stadium means Bournemouth have registered just one Premier League win from their last seven games going into a tricky run of fixtures, including next week’s visit to Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham and December meetings with Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal.
“I don’t know what the first half performance was. Take the red card out of it, it was not acceptable,” Cook told Bournemouth’s website.
“Everyone knew what they had to, everyone knew their jobs.
“I don’t think that’s acceptable because we need that level of commitment first half, we need people dying, we need people winning tackles.
“We were shying out of tackles first half and whoever plays for this club, that’s the level we expect and we didn’t do that first half.
“(It was) inexcusable, a lot to to do.
“We know what run we’ve got ahead of us now. We wanted to start it on a positive note.
“The only thing we can do now is take that (second) 45 minutes and take it into Tottenham. That’s the benchmark.”
Moutinho superbly opened the scoring with a dipping free-kick from an acute angle, before his quick set-piece culminated in Jimenez sweeping home his sixth goal in seven outings from Adama Traore’s centre.
Cherries skipper Francis, making his first Premier League start since suffering serious knee ligament damage on Boxing Day, was booked for scything down Diogo Jota leading directly to the opener before being deservedly sent off for cynically fouling the same player.
Cook expects a tough week on the training field ahead of the club’s first visit to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
“The focus will be who wants to play next week, simple as that. Who wants the shirt, who wants to go out and put things right against Tottenham. That’s ultimately it,” he said.
“We know how good each player is but it’s all well and good saying it in interviews after losses, we need to put it all into place and start doing the business.”
In-form Wolves climbed to fifth place after extending their unbeaten league run to eight matches.
Spanish forward Traore, who assisted the decisive second goal, believes his side are now reaping the rewards for their efforts after beginning their league campaign with a six-game winless run.
“We have been working so hard in different games and people were a little bit nervous because in the start of the season there were so many draws,” Traore told his club’s website.
“But the work is there, the passion is there.
“The results come but the important thing is we have to keep going game by game.”