Francis credits team spirit

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Bournemouth defender Simon Francis has credited the togetherness of the Cherries squad for their better-than-expected debut season in the Premier League.

Francis is one of a number of players that have remained with Bournemouth since their time in League One.

He concedes that while it is necessary to strengthen your squad to be able to compete in the English top flight, the decision by the Cherries to keep faith in the core of their squad has paid dividents in their first Premier League season.

"I think the manager obviously bringing in the right players, building the squad right, has been key," Francis told the club's official website. "I think it's been a period of time where we have built a successful squad. It wasn't an overnight thing in the Premier League.

"We hadn't brought in 10, 11 players and the whole starting line-up didn't change, I think that's kept us in the league.

"A lot of the lads played in League One, the Championship and I can't think of too many teams that have done that kind of thing – been promoted then put out a similar kind of team in the Premier League.

"Obviously the gaffer added players to the squad to strengthen it, you have to in the Premier League, you have to be competitive with the top teams.

"But I think he's got to take a lot of credit for that, for bringing in the right characters. It's a tight knit bunch and we've got a great togetherness and team spirit."

Bournemouth were only able to win one of their final eight league matches of the season, but so impressive was their form prior to that, they were comfortably able to avoid relegation, finishing five points ahead of 18th-placed Newcastle United.