Ogbonna relishing Old Trafford bow

Angelo Ogbonna insists the Hammers are targeting three points this afternoon
Ahead of what could be Angelo Ogbonna’s first appearance at Old Trafford later today, the Italian defender insisted that despite injuries to key attacking players, the Hammers are still aiming for three points come full time.

Since joining West Ham in the summer from European giants Juventus, Ogbonna played a key role in the famous victories away at Arsenal and Liverpool before a hamstring injury curtailed his game time.

Having now recovered, the 27-year-old made his return to first team action last weekend against West Bromwich Albion, and is now eagerly awaiting his chance to play at the Theatre of Dreams.

Speaking ahead of the 3pm kick-off, Ogbonna said: “I feel good, I am very grateful to be back in the squad, now I have my chance to show what I can do.

“We have prepared really well for today, we are not afraid; we are ready to do good things. Me and my teammates are ready, the coaches have prepared us very well for every situation.

“It’s my first time playing at Old Trafford and I am really looking forward to it. We have no reason to fear Manchester United, we are powerful ourselves to do our job.”

With Dimitri Payet and Enner Valencia already on the sidelines, the Hammers’ frontline was further diminished when Diafra Sakho picked up an injury against the Baggies.

While undoubtedly the absence of the trio is a significant blow, the Cassino-born defender insisted that this would not alter the way the Hammers will approach the game.

He explained: “We are missing some good attacking players of course, Sakho, Payet and Valencia are important for us but we don’t need to change the way we play. We attack as a team, and we defend as a team, always.

“If we had a chance in the final minute, of all our players I would want Sakho to be the one to shoot. Over 90 minutes, I have never seen a striker run as much as he does; he never gives up for the team. Every time we lose the ball, he runs after it. He runs, he fights, he never complains. 

“But every time we lose a player, we have another player to cover that position; the quality of this team lies in the group.”
For Ogbonna, the 2014/15 season was a very special campaign. Prior to joining West Ham, he played 36 times for i bianconeri , alongside former Manchester United stars Patrice Evra, Paul Pogba and a certain Carlos Tevez.

The Argentine scooped Juve’s top goalscorer award with 29 goals in total, helping the Turin giants to the Serie A title, while finishing runner’s up in the Champions League to Barcelona. 

While his impact may have gone somewhat under the radar with Payet and Manuel Lanzini largely stealing the headlines, it is clear listening to the Italian that this is just the start of what appears to but an upward trajectory for both him and the Club.

Ogbonna continued: “The win at Liverpool was very special, everyone enjoyed it. We want to win every game, that’s how good we are, not every team can say that.

“Maybe a point today is better for us then Manchester United but that is not what we are playing for.
“The target for me is to do my best for West Ham, this season is very special because it is the last one at the Boleyn Ground. It is important to finish as high as we can, I think somewhere between fourth and sixth is achievable.

“I think the new stadium is perfect, in England, at every level of football the organisation is amazing; from the Academy and the young players through to the new stadium, everything.”