Eddie Howe hopes Jordon Ibe’s match-winning cameo against Brighton and Hove Albion can light a fire underneath the winger’s Bournemouth career.
Ibe came off the bench with the Cherries staring down the barrel of a fifth Premier League defeat from as many games after Solly March’s header for the Seagulls, but the ex-Liverpool man set up both Andrew Surman and Jermain Defoe to secure a 2-1 triumph.
The pair of assists were Ibe’s first since making a £15million switch from Anfield last season.
And Howe now wants the England youth international to kick on and repeat the dose throughout the campaign.
“He’s such a talented footballer and we were hoping Jordon explodes to show the player he can be,” Howe told Sky Sports.
“We see it every day in training, he can beat people in really tight areas as he did that for the two goals.
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“I thought it was very special play and I hope that that’s the kick-start, the confidence boost that he needs because he can be a difference-maker for us.”
Ibe has only started one game – the defeat at Watford last month – so far this season but was delighted to have left his mark on this contest.
“If you’re not starting, you have to be ready. I’m lucky I got my chance and lucky we got the three points we needed,” he said.
“He [Howe] wanted me to be direct and go at the full-back, it’s great for me to help the team win today.”
Defoe’s goal was his first for Bournemouth since a loan spell some 18 seasons previously and began to repay the faith Howe had placed in the former Sunderland veteran by offering him a three-year contract.
“He is one of the best finishers I’ve ever seen. He’s lost none of that,” Howe told a news conference.
“We need to get to know as a team what Jermain wants as he is different to the strikers we have at the club. It is all about creating more openings for him.”
Having seen his team pick up a first Premier League win last time out, Brighton manager Chris Hughton lamented defensive errors for providing Ibe with the room to supply Surman and Defoe.
“It’s hard to take, we did everything right,” Hughton said. “We matched them and once we took the lead, if anything, that spurred them into making the changes and they had to go for it but we conceded two poor goals which is unlike us.
“We defended really well all game. We knew they would have possession around the box and you’ve got to keep in your shape – once you come out your shape it allows holes and that happened with both goals.
“That’s the difference in levels. We defended really well against Man City [a season-opening 2-0 loss] but from our mistake they scored. These are the type of games we need to make sure we stay in it right the way through to the end.”