‘You have to stick to your philosophy’ – Surman offers City his advice on Premier League survival
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Andrew Surman knows what it takes to become established in the Premier League and the Bournemouth midfielder has urged Norwich City to keep faith with Daniel Farke’s attacking philosophy.
The 33-year-old will be part of the Bournemouth team which welcomes his former club to the Vitality Stadium on Saturday, where he has played an integral part in the south coast club's success since he left the Canaries in 2014.
The Cherries are in their fifth consecutive season of top-flight football and while Eddie Howe has had much more money to spend than Farke, striking the balance between attack and defence has proved challenging.
"You've got to respect the fact that Norwich have stuck to their philosophy," said Surman. "It's a dangerous game to play, changing your philosophy when you're coming into the Premier League, when it has worked for you in the Championship.
"You might not have the players or the set-up to play a different way so you've got to stick to your philosophy. I've watched a couple of the Norwich games and they play good football.
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"That's similar to what we were like. We still play football, but obviously you have to adapt as the season goes on because the Premier League is adapting all the time.
"But you do have to stick to your guns. When we first came up we probably conceded too many goals, the first two seasons, but we always backed ourselves to score more than the other team.
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"Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't but you have to stick to your philosophy."
The former Southampton and Wolves man played every minute of the Cherries first season in the Premier League in 2015-16, when they finished 16th, and has made 106 appearances in the top flight since leaving City.
Surman was often wearing the captain's armband last season before a calf injury finished his season in March, and has been on the fringes of Howe's team so far this season, who sit 10th in the table.
They conceded 70 goals last season but still finished 14th thanks to scoring 56, which was enough to pick up the points needed, and Surman - who scored eight goals in 58 games for Norwich - says a lot of those goals were let in against the big boys.
"Obviously it's something we've looked at, the goals conceded, because the more you concede, the less chance you've got of winning games," he continued. "But we conceded a lot of goals against the top six, that was where we conceded most of our goals.
"We ended up on the end of 4-0 or 5-0 too many times, we weren't tight enough and good enough defensively against those sort of teams.
"But in the Premier League that can happen to you, when you;re up against Man City or Liverpool, who can open you up at will, whatever way you set up against them, you need a little bit of luck against teams like that.
"As long as you're scoring goals then you have got a chance, it's just trying to keep it tight, but it's difficult with the quality you are facing each week."
- Check back to this website tomorrow for more top-flight tips from ex-Canaries midfielder Surman