Boss backs Lerma to improve
Eddie Howe has backed record signing Jefferson Lerma to improve his discipline but admits they will miss him against Arsenal.
Lerma will be missing for the games against Arsenal and Manchester City after the Colombia international picked up his 10th yellow card of the season against Wolverhampton Wanderers and will now serve a two-match ban.
The 24-year-old made the move to the Vitality Stadium from Levante for £25million last summer but he had a disciplinary problem in Spain with 18 yellow cards in 28 appearances.
He has been walking something of a tightrope for the past few weeks but managed five games without a card before his elbow on Joao Moutinho, which could have easily been a red card.
"I thought it was a good challenge at the time. Replays may tell me different," added Howe.
“I’m disappointed because Jeff has done so well since he’s been on nine bookings to manage himself to avoid another one. We know how important he is to the team so to lose him for two games now is a huge blow, especially with the squad looking thin from the injuries that we have, but we’ll have to get on with it.
“He had a lot of bookings early in the season as he was adjusting to the English game. He picked up a lot of bookings last year for Levante as well, but he is that type of midfielder and they’re the qualities that we wanted from him.
“Obviously, I don’t want him suspended, but the pleasing thing is that over the last couple of months he has been mindful and watchful of it without letting it impact his performances.
"He’s capable of making selective decisions on challenges and hopefully steering clear of future suspensions."
Nick Harris is a long-standing journalist who specialises in football and rugby league. An avid golfer, Nick also follows the major boxing fights closely.