Gary O’Neil is plotting a repeat of one of his favourite football memories when he leads beleaguered Bournemouth into Tuesday’s Premier League clash with Manchester United at Old Trafford.
O’Neil was part of a struggling Norwich side that claimed a stunning 2-1 win over Louis van Gaal’s team in December 2015 with goals from Cameron Jerome and Alex Tettey.
And O’Neil knows he will need to summon similar magic as the virus-hit Cherries head north on the back of what he described as the worst performance of his tenure in the 2-0 defeat to Crystal Palace on New Year’s Eve.
“I won there with Norwich and it was special because Norwich were a newly-promoted side as well, in a relegation battle, so to go there and get a victory was big for us,” he said.
“It was a special feeling and hopefully we can create that on Tuesday. But it is a tough place to go and I’m sure not many people have successes there.
“Erik ten Hag has obviously done some fantastic work there. They seem to be a much better team than when he came in, so it’s a tough one for us and we need to make sure we are ready.”
The Cherries’ bright new era under the watchful eye of new owner Bill Foley fell flat against the Eagles, with their preparations having been hit by a virus that also affected the head coach.
But O’Neil refused to look for excuses, insisting: “The Palace game was important and we failed to deliver, so we will review it and make sure it doesn’t happen again.
“The group are very good at it, so I expect to see a response.”
O’Neil will once again be without influential midfielder Marcus Tavernier, who he confirmed faces “a few more weeks” on the sidelines due to injury.
Goalkeeper Neto has returned to training and continues to make progress, while David Brooks is on the verge of returning to the first-team group after a hamstring injury.