Gary O’Neil set on Cherries picking up points and not permanent Bournemouth job

·3-min read

Bournemouth interim boss Gary O’Neil does not know whether the impressive comeback win at Nottingham Forest will make him a candidate for the permanent job.

O’Neil is in temporary charge following Scott Parker’s sacking on Tuesday and a roller-coaster week was completed by his side coming from 2-0 down at half-time to win 3-2 at the City Ground.

First-half goals from Cheikhou Kouyate and Brennan Johnson looked like putting Forest on course for the three points, but seven days on from their humiliating 9-0 loss at Liverpool the Cherries dug deep.

Phillip Billing got them back in it with their first goal since the opening day of the season. Dominic Solanke then levelled just after the hour, with Jaidon Anthony sealing the win late on.

The former Portsmouth and Middlesbrough midfielder, who also guided Bournemouth to a draw against Wolves in midweek, does not know how this result changes the recruitment process.

“It’s still ‘until further notice’. I haven’t spoken to anybody about it, I have been told to take the team today and until further notice,” he said.

“I am speaking to you before I have spoken to anyone. As far as I know that is still the situation.

“I honestly haven’t considered whether I want it permanently.

“I feel like my job at the minute is to get Bournemouth as many points as I can in this period that I am here. I am fully focused on that.

“The minute we came off the pitch, I just thought that we need to get ready for Brighton. Whether that is me or someone else, we just need to get some rest into them and go again.”

Plenty has happened since that record-equalling loss in Merseyside last weekend and O’Neil hailed his players’ resilience.

“Just delighted for the boys really. We asked them at half-time to believe and go again,” he said. “To respond at that point after the week they have had says everything about this group is about.

“They are an incredible group, they are so committed, so relentless, they never know when they are done. Two games on the trot they have literally emptied the tank for me.

“Everyone at the club deserves it, everyone who has supported me over the last few days.

“They are delighted, they need a rest, as do I, they have been on a roller coaster of a journey since this time last Saturday.”

It was a day to forget for Forest, who would have seen this as an ideal opportunity for three points after defeats to Tottenham and Manchester City in the last week.

Kouyate’s header and Johnson’s penalty, after referee Michael Oliver made the rare call to uphold a decision after checking it on the pitchside monitor, put them on course, but boss Steve Cooper was shocked by the events that transpired after the break.

“I didn’t see the second half coming. I thought we were very good in the first half, and good for the two-goal lead,” said Cooper, whose side slip into the bottom three after six games.

“The first goal, we didn’t defend well enough before the ball went in the net. That has then set the tone for the second half, and we’ve not managed that very well.

“The second goal was from a set-piece. We should do better.

“Then there was a mistake from Scott (McKenna) for the third goal. That’s the first time he’s put a foot wrong since I’ve been here.

“But let’s not hide away from the fact that we’ve thrown away a win. We’ve not done it in a very good way. We’ve conceded three goals at home, and there’s nothing good about that.