Ogbonna: Tottenham is more important than any other derby
Angelo Ogbonna says West Ham United need to keep their feet on the ground ahead of their ‘most important derby’ of the season so far.
The Hammers head to Wembley Stadium to face Tottenham Hotspur on Thursday evening seeking to build on a run of one defeat in six Premier League matches, including Tuesday’s thrilling come-from-behind victory over West Bromwich Albion.
Ogbonna and company also have fond memories of their 3-2 Carabao Cup win over Spurs at the Home of Football in October, but the Italy defender says he and his teammates cannot afford to get carried away with their recent improvements.
“I have really good memories of our win at Wembley earlier this season, but we have to keep our feet on the ground because it is so important for us to continue our recent form,” said the No21, whose last-ditch tackle on Oliver Burke paved the way for Tuesday’s success.
“We can’t lose our minds after a few good results, because while the situation is positive at present, the table is so tight that it can become negative again. We need to go there, play our game and get one point or three, then we can continue to look forward positively.
“I feel that the best derby for us is against Tottenham. Chelsea and Arsenal are both derbies too, but Tottenham is more important than any other derby.”
While he says West Ham need to retain their focus on the job in hand against a Tottenham team who have themselves won five of their last six Premier League matches, Ogbonna believes the Hammers can travel to Wembley with confidence.
And one reason for that was the performance of centre forward Andy Carroll in Tuesday’s victory over West Brom, when the England international scored two outstanding goals.
The first, in particular, caught Ogbonna’s eye, as the No9 rose high above Baggies defenders Jonny Evans and Kieran Gibbs to power Aaron Cresswell’s left-wing cross past a helpless Ben Foster.
“The mood was amazing in the dressing room after Tuesday’s win as it was really, really important for us, and we deserved it,” said the centre-half.
“I couldn’t see the second goal because I was so far away, but the first goal was really brilliant. He jumped so high, over the crossbar, so for me it was a really good header. For me, in the penalty area, Andy is the best. Nobody can challenge him.
“In training, I try every time to do something to stop him, because if you leave him alone, he’s going to score. With the power he has got and the pace he gets in his headers, he is difficult to stop.”