Although he was left frustrated by events during the meeting with Scott Parker’s side - particularly referee Dean Whitestone’s refusal to award a penalty following Nat Phillips’ foul on Morgan Gibbs-White - the sight of United creating numerous chances against opponents ranked second in the Championship underlined, Heckingbottom later insisted, one of his most important messages he has delivered to his squad in recent weeks.
“It reinforces what I’ve been telling the lads,” the 44-year-old said. “It shows them, when I tell them they are bang on it and at their best, they’re going to be a match for anyone and are capable of beating anyone.”
“Performance-wise, that was right up there with the best,” Heckingbottom added. “We were playing a team that’s going to be in the Premier League next season.”
United, who finished the contest in fifth, could have taken a huge step towards joining them had Gibbs-White not also twice been thwarted by Bournemouth goalkeeper Mark Travers while Filip Uremovic, making only his second appearance for the hosts, scooped wide at the death.
Speaking afterwards, Parker raised eyebrows by insisting Bournemouth had been on top for long periods of the match. But not as many as the sight of Phillips escaping censure for his clumsy challenge on Gibbs-White during the second-half.
“I’ve asked but you feel worse for doing it,” Heckingbottom said, revealing he had spoken with Whitestone afterwards. “But there were positives.”