Bournemouth's Gradel keen to repay manager Howe
REUTERS - Bournemouth winger Max Gradel is determined to repay manager Eddie Howe for allowing him to recover from a knee injury in his native Ivory Coast by boosting their bid for Premier League survival.
Gradel, who joined from French side St Etienne during the close season, made only four league appearances before rupturing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in August.
The 28-year-old returned to action following the six-month layoff in Saturday's 0-0 draw at Watford and wants to make sure his club, who have a five-point advantage over teams in the relegation zone, preserve their top-tier status for next season.
"When I came back this month people were surprised to see me,” Gradel told British media. “People didn’t expect me to train and then when he (Howe) saw me I looked good. I was ready to play.
“When someone trusts you, you cannot let them down. I showed him he did the right thing by trusting me and letting me go home and today the result is I’m back to carry on.
"I'm going to give something new and bring some energy to the team. It's down to us and everybody together in the last (11) games. Hopefully we're going to have a good end to the season."
Gradel would have marked his return with a goal on Saturday had it not been for a fine save by Watford's Heurelho Gomes.
“It has been hard with the injury,” Gradel added. “Six months is very hard to take. Sometimes you just want to give up but then when you see the support you get from the fans like I received, you cannot give up."
Bournemouth, who have won just twice in their last 10 league games, are 15th and host seventh-placed Southampton on Tuesday.
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(Reporting by Shravanth Vijayakumar in Bengaluru, editing by Pritha Sarkar)