Bournemouth 2-1 Aston Villa: Eddie Howe describes narrow win as 'a big moment'

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Lerma sending off totally changed game - Eddie Howe

Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe says the Cherries' 2-1 win over Aston Villa is a "big moment" in their bid to avoid relegation from the top flight.

Howe's team led 2-0 through Philip Billing and Nathan Ake goals but had to play more than 40 minutes with 10 men following Jefferson Lerma's red card.

Mbwana Samatta pulled a goal back for the visitors, but Bournemouth held on to move out of the bottom three.

"That is as good as we've played for a while," Howe said.

"We had to show a different side to our abilities [following Lerma's dismissal] and we just about did it.

"The pulse was off the radar for a spell, but it has calmed down now."

A run of 10 defeats in 12 league games saw Bournemouth slide to 19th in the table in mid-January, with Howe forced to deny suggestions he was asked to step down as manager in the run-up to the 1-0 loss at Norwich.

However, back-to-back wins over fellow strugglers Brighton and Villa have lifted the Cherries two points clear of the relegation zone and relieved the pressure on the 42-year-old.

"It is one of the many beauties of football, the emotions attached to a game," said Howe.

"With the run of form we've been on, it was hugely important we got over the line and win.

"We don't know whether it will define our season but it feels like a big moment. We have shown we are still alive and kicking and we have points to prove."

Bournemouth have a difficult run of fixtures in February, including trips to Sheffield United, Burnley and runaway leaders Liverpool as well as a home match with top-four hopefuls Chelsea.

With just three points separating 15th and 19th in the table, Howe knows his side cannot afford to rest on their laurels.

"We have a long, long way to go before we can say we have done anything," he said. "There are some tough games to come, nothing is decided today.

"We are fighting and showing that we want to be in the Premier League."