Bournemouth caretaker manager Gary O’Neil is unsure if the impressive comeback win at Nottingham Forest will make him a candidate for the permanent job.
O’Neil is in temporary charge after Scott Parker was sacked on Tuesday and has completed a rollercoaster week alongside him, going from 2-0 down at half-time to win 3-2 at the City Ground.
First-half goals from Cheikhou Kouyaté and Brennan Johnson appeared to put Forest on course for the three points, but seven days after their humiliating 9-0 defeat at Liverpool, the Cherries dug deep.
Philip Billing got them back on track with their first goal since day one of the season. Dominic Solanke then equalized just after the hour mark and Jaidon Anthony sealed the victory late in the game.
O’Neil, the former Portsmouth and Middlesbrough midfielder who also guided Bournemouth to a draw against Wolves in midweek, is unsure how the result changes the recruitment process.
“It’s still ‘until further notice’. I haven’t spoken to anyone about it, I was told to take the squad today and until further notice,” he said.
“As far as I know, that’s still the situation. Honestly, I haven’t wondered if I want it permanently. I feel like my job at the minute is to get as many points as I can. possible for Bournemouth. I’m fully focused on that.
“As soon as we came off the pitch, I just thought we needed to get ready for Brighton. Whether it’s me or someone else, we just need to rest a bit and get going.
A lot has happened since that record loss last weekend and O’Neil praised the resilience of his players.
“Just thrilled for the boys, really. We asked them at halftime to believe it and go back,” he said. “To respond to that time after the week they had , that says it all about what this band is all about.
“They are an incredible group, they are so committed, so relentless that they never know when they’re done. Two games in a row they literally emptied my tank. Everyone at the club deserves it, everyone who have supported me over the last few days.
“They’re thrilled, they need a rest, just like me, they’ve been on the roller coaster of a trip since this hour 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 last week.
Kouyaté’s header and Johnson’s penalty, after referee Michael Oliver made the rare call to stand by a decision after checking it on the pitchside monitor, put them on the right track, but Steve Cooper was shocked by what happened after the break.
“I didn’t see the second half coming. I think we were very good in the first half and good for the two-goal lead,” said Cooper, whose team slipped in the bottom three after six games.
“The first goal, we didn’t defend well enough before the ball went into the net. That then set the tone for the second half, and we didn’t handle 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. It’s the first time he’s taken the wrong foot since I’ve been here.
“But let’s not hide from the fact that we wasted a victory. We didn’t do it in a very good way. We conceded three goals at home, and it’s not good.
Jaidon Anthony seals Bournemouth comeback win at Nottingham Forest