The Big Interview - Angelo Ogbonna

Angelo Ogbonna wants to create more headlines in the FA Cup and talks about his love for London

Angelo Ogbonna is loving life in London and rightly so after becoming an integral part of the team following his move from Juventus last summer.

The Italian defender has wasted no time settling into his new surroundings and became an even bigger hero with the Hammers fans when he scored the dramatic winner against Liverpool in the last round of the FA Cup with just seconds left on the clock to keep alive the Club's hopes of winning major silverware this season.

Ogbonna brings with him a wealth of experience having won the Serie A title with Juventus and despite being part of the losing side when the Italian giants lost to Barcelona in the Champions League back in June 2015, Ogbonna is now hoping to go one stage further and play his part in steering his side to Wembley this season and making it a memorable final season at the Boleyn Ground.


Angelo, you must be so proud of the way the team are performing at the moment. Did you expect the club to be performing this well when you joined the Club last summer?

AO: “When I signed for West Ham I knew what could be achieved but I didn't want to tell anyone!

“I didn't know about Leicester and how teams like Chelsea and Manchester United would perform because they should be at the top.

“The Premier League is so good because every game is played at such a high level and everyone wants to fight against the opposition.

“This is a good time for us to achieve what we want to achieve.”


The West Ham United supporters are dreaming of playing in Europe next season. Having played in the Champions League, what would it mean for the Club to play on the European stage next season?

AO: “I understand why the fans are dreaming about this because this is a big chance for us, but we should not focus too much on our position in the table. We need to keep our feet on the ground.”


We switch our attentions away from the Premier League this weekend and are now preparing for another huge game in the FA Cup quarter final against Manchester United. How excited are the players at the prospect of playing at Old Trafford and the possibility of reaching the semi-final stage at Wembley?

AO: “We are very excited about this and we will do everything to play at Wembley. We know it will be a really good game and a great atmosphere.

“It was an unforgettable moment when I scored the winning goal against Liverpool. This is the first time in my career I have experienced an atmosphere like that – maybe it was because we are playing the final ever season at the Boleyn Ground and you can see what it means to the fans.

“It was not only the Liverpool game. The fans helped us so much during the Tottenham match and the crowd was unbelievable.”


You have played in Cup Finals and been part of the Champions League Final. What does it mean for a Club to reach the Final and everything that goes with it?

AO: “It would be amazing for us to reach the Final. It is a dream for everyone and sometimes you need to dream.

“We are in this position because we want to achieve a lot and we continue to dream.”


How much are you enjoying living in London and how do you like to spend time away from football?

AO: “I love living in London. It is a good experience for me. I have met a lot of good people, including my team-mates.

“I have been to Petticoat Lane Market and someone spoke to me about the history of the market.

“I managed to come away with some very good bargains and really enjoyed it!!

“I have also been to Big Ben, Buckingham Palace and all the tourist attractions. The first time I came to London I was on holiday, but this time I can enjoy everything.

“I enjoy going to different restaurants and have also been on the London Eye which gives you amazing views of the city. I think it is amazing here.”


You managed to head back to Italy after the Everton victory. How much do you appreciate going back to see your family back home?

AO: “I went to see my mother as it was Mothers Day and I wanted to celebrate it with her.

“She is very proud of what I am doing at West Ham. She knows if I am happy then she is happy as well!!”


You have played with a number of top players during your career. Is Dimitri Payet one of the best you have seen ?

AO: “Yes he is one of the best. He has a lot of quality but the secret of this team is the group and we have a very good mix of players.

“We have many players who can do everything and show different sides to their game. When we have to fight they will go and win the ball.

“We are a very good team and have players like Lanzini, Sakho, Kouyate and Noble who can all make a difference.

“My team have helped me to settle in and when they support you, you have the confidence to do what you want to do. This is a good moment for everyone.”


Unfortunately, you were an unused substitute during the Champions League Final against Barcelona. How much would you like to make up for that and just maybe play in a major final for West Ham?

AO: “That is a nice dream for me. We are in a very good situation at the moment and we don't have to be scared. We prepare well for the game and the coach is preparing us very well.”