Ogbonna: Joao Mario is prepared to show his qualities
Angelo Ogbonna has urged the Claret and Blue Army to get behind new signing Joao Mario and help him settle into life at West Ham United.
The UEFA Euro 2016 winner is set to make his home debut against Crystal Palace in the Premier League at London Stadium on Tuesday evening.
The Portugal playmaker has followed Ogbonna’s own path from Serie A to the Premier League, joining the Hammers on loan from Inter Milan, and the defender says the new No18 undoubtedly has the quality to succeed in English football.
“Joao looks good not just for me, but for the whole team,” said the defender. “He is a good player, he keeps the ball.
“He didn’t get the chance to show himself in Saturday’s game, especially when you are one man down, as you cannot take the whole team on your shoulders [in your first appearance]. I think on Tuesday he is going to show his qualities.
“To adapt, I think everything is mental and he is already prepared for this change. He spoke already with Jose Fonte and with me as well. We have a lot of different people to talk to him, including the captain [Mark Noble], and it is our job to help him.
“It is not just us though, everybody in the stadium on Tuesday, all our supporters, must get behind him to help him out.”
Ogbonna and Joao Mario shared the frustration of an Emirates FA Cup fourth-round defeat at Wigan Athletic on Saturday, when the latter made his debut as a half-time substitute.
The Hammers were beaten by the EFL League One leaders and also lost Arthur Masuaku to a red card and Pedro Obiang to a knee injury.
However, with Palace to visit on Tuesday and a trip to the south coast to tackle Brighton & Hove Albion to follow at the weekend, the Italian is looking forward, rather than dwelling on the loss at the DW Stadium.
“We are disappointed about Saturday’s game,” said Ogbonna, who has started all 13 Premier League matches since David Moyes took charge in November, helping the Hammers pick up four wins and five draws in that span.
“We started really badly and in the second half, with one man down, it was so hard to get back in it, but we have to forget about this game and concentrate on Tuesday night.
“Crystal Palace at home is another big game, the Premier League just doesn’t stop. Every game is a big game and for us it is a huge game and for them as well.”