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AUDIO: Eddie Howe believes Watford are 'the team to beat' this season after Bournemouth's 6-1 defeat
Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe is tipping Watford to be "the team to beat" this season after the Hornets thrashed his side 6-1 at Vicarage Road on Saturday.
Whilst both Howe and opposite number Gianfranco Zola agreed that the 6-1 scoreline was harsh on the newly-promoted Cherries, Howe was quick to praise Watford nonetheless.
With the score 1-1 at half-time, Watford moved up the gears in the second period, scoring a further five times without reply, despite the visitors starting the stronger of the two.
"What I will say is that this team is a very good team, managed very well, coached very well – that’s obvious," said Howe.
"In the preparation for this game I watched a lot of Watford games and I have to say I was very impressed with what I saw so full credit to them.
"I think they’ll go all the way again, they’re the team potentially to beat this year."
A hat-trick from Troy Deeney – the first by a Watford player since Michael Chopra in April 2003 – did for the south coast outfit.
"That’s the sort of strikers we’ll be up against – top quality," Howe added.
"As I said, I watched a lot of Watford in the build-up and some of his goals last year were exceptional; his movement, not only his movement, but his finishing capabilities, [he] obviously took his goals very well again today."
Defeat brought Bournemouth back down to earth after an opening-day victory over Charlton Athletic and Howe admitted afterwards that his side would need to learn their lessons quickly.
He said: "I always knew it was going to be a huge step-up for the squad and for everyone at the club because if you look at our history, we’ve hardly ever played in the Championship and history is always a good gauge.
"We’re going to play against some big sides, some good teams and we’re going to need to try to generate points. Every point will be a point earned and although there were many positives to come out of today, the overall negative was that we shipped in too many goals and that is something we’re going to need to address pretty quickly."
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