Gary O’Neil explains why he was ‘relatively’ pleased with point as D-Day looms over Bournemouth job

·3-min read
Gary O Neil Bournemouth 2022 TEAMtalk1 Credit: PA Images
Gary O Neil Bournemouth 2022 TEAMtalk1 Credit: PA Images

Gary O’Neil was content with the way his Bournemouth side battled for a point against Newcastle but is still in the dark over his future at the club.

The 39-year-old took over as caretaker manager following Scott Parker’s dismissal in the wake of the 9-0 thrashing by Liverpool. The former Norwich and Middlesbrough midfielder managed to guide his charges to a goalless draw with Wolves following the Anfield debacle. And the Cherries then claimed their second league win of the campaign with a 3-2 triumph at Nottingham Forest.

A trip to St James’ Park looked a tricky fixture on paper, with Eddie Howe’s side now a force to be reckoned with. But the south-coast outfit secured a 1-1 draw on Tyneside.

Philip Billing gave the visitors the lead on 62 minutes before Alexander Isak replied from the spot five minutes later. It was backs-to-the-wall stuff at times for Bournemouth but they hung on for a point.

And O’Neil was happy with the way his men adapted to the situation to claim a share of the spoils.

“It is a good point for us, it is a tough place to come,” he told BBC Sport. “The boys stood up. I am a little bit disappointed with the penalty but we would have taken a point before.

“I am pleased the boys got something out of it because they put in a hell of a shift. We had a couple of plans prepared so the boys were prepared to flip between them.

“We changed it a little bit second half and had to give up a little bit of ground but I never really felt under threat. I am relatively pleased.”

O’Neil unsure on Bournemouth future

Bournemouth were among the favourites for relegation before the season began. And the manner of their defeat to Jurgen Klopp’s side will have done little to alter that view.

However, the Vitality Stadium outfit now sit 12th in the table with five points from three games. O’Neil feels his men always give everything for the cause and is now focused on the next challenge at home to Brentford.

“They will show spirit every game. It is such a tough league so we will reset. This game means nothing as of tomorrow,” he added. “This game won’t help you in the next one. I am just delighted for the lads, everyone, the fans because it is a hell of a long way to come.

“We appreciate their support – the boys need them in those tough moments where they have to dig in.”

It remains to be seen if O’Neil is given the job on a permanent basis. His ongoing ‘interview’ seems to be going well, with a three-game unbeaten run.

The Beckenham-born coach seemed philosophical about his status and feels he may know more by the end of the weekend.

“I will be finding out what’s happening club wise next week and see what the plan is happening,” he continued. “If it is me we’ll get back to work on the grass with the lads.

“I have no idea what’s happening – I knew I was taking today and I don’t know about further, I guess I’ll find out tomorrow.”

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