Ogbonna - Concentration was key

  • Hammers defender Angelo Ogbonna was terrific in his side’s 1-1 draw with Manchester United on Sunday
  • The defender believes the point will improve the side’s confidence ahead of Wednesday’s EFL Cup tie at Old Trafford
  • Italian defender Ogbonna also praised Hammers goalscorer Diafra Sakho and substitute Ashley Fletcher

Hammers defender Angelo Ogbonna believes his side’s concentration in defence helped the visitors earn a vital point against Manchester United on Sunday in the Premier League.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic equalised for the Red Devils after Diafra Sakho had opened the scoring within the first two minutes, but the visitors battled hard to ensure they returned to east London with a draw in the bag.

Ogbonna’s marvellous defensive display, which included a number of important blocks and last-ditch tackles, contributed to the result and the Italian was left thrilled at the final whistle.

He said: “I think it is a really crucial point for us. We had a really good game and a good performance and it was so important for us because we were so disappointed about the last match.

“It was great to put a good performance in. We were so concentrated at the back and maybe this is why this game is a great moment.

“In the table, we are not great at the moment but we have to take it step-by-step and focus each time for every game.”

Ogbonna was involved in one of the match’s key moments at the end of the first period, as he bravely threw himself in front of a Ibrahimovic goalbound effort.

“Yeah, it was [great to stop Ibrahimovic],” the defender said about the chance. “Maybe we had a lot of chances but they had a lot of chances too.

Ogbonna tackles Rooney
“At the end of the game, it’s a draw and we keep this point and we have to look forward and get back here on Wednesday.

“It’s important for the first match to draw and it’s a really good point for us.

“I want to keep our best up tonight and maybe on Wednesday, I don’t know, we can get a draw or better, the best result for us.”

There was early delight for the travelling Irons as Sakho headed past David De Gea in the second minute and Ogbonna had nothing but praise for the forward who was making just his second appearance of the season.

He also moved to compliment former Manchester United forward Ashley Fletcher, who made a huge impact as a second half substitute.

“For us, [Sakho's] so important,” continued the ex-Juventus man. “He’s a good player and a good man and he’s important for the team. But it wasn’t just him, but a lot of players.

“Fletcher came on and was brialliant as well. We need to get our confidence back sometimes, but this is a good way to get it back.

“He got chances and maybe if he puts the ball in for us then today I’m talking about three points! But it’s OK – he’s still young and he is a good player.

“He can keep the ball and run in behind and he’s very good for us that we have a good lot of young players who can improve and help the team and we have to keep our feet on the ground and work hard and take it step-by-step.”