Angelo Ogbonna: Wycombe win showed West Ham have the right mentality
Angelo Ogbonna said West Ham United’s performance and attitude in Tuesday’s 5-1 pre-season win at Wycombe Wanderers was spot-on.
The Hammers concluded the 2019/20 campaign just four weeks ago with a run which encompassed just one loss in their final seven matches, and Ogbonna said they want to start the new season in a similar vein when Newcastle United visit London Stadium on Saturday 12 September.
With that in mind, the experienced Italian was pleased with the way the Irons approached and executed their victory over the EFL Championship debutants at Adams Park.
We are carrying on with the same mentality that the manager [David Moyes] brought in
“I think it was a really good performance from the team and it was really important to get back, because we feel we had the summer break and it was important for us to keep fit and give a message to ourselves – not to the other teams. I saw the team in good condition and everyone is looking forward to the restart,” the Hammer of the Year runner-up observed.
“We are carrying on with the same mentality that the manager [David Moyes] brought in and I think it is totally important, even for the young players who played today.”
One young player who caught the eye at Wycombe was Ogbonna’s central defensive partner Jamal Baptiste, who made his maiden appearance for the first team at the age of just 16.
Tall, strong and composed, the teenager produced a largely assured performance, save for one second-half slip that let in substitute Uche Ikpeazu, only for experienced goalkeeper David Martin to spare his blushes with a smart save.
Ogbonna feels Baptiste will be stronger for the experience and encouraged him to seek advice and instruction from his teammates, manager and coaches as he seeks to take his game to the next level.
“He played really, really well and as a young player you can make one or two mistakes, but your behaviour has to be the right one, like Dec (Declan Rice) when he starts,” the No21 advised.
“Jamal has a lot of work still to do but he is composed. He is still young and has to take things step by step. This was just a pre-season game. He has to follow the senior players and the manager’s instruction and it’s good for him to have people he can look to.
“Having senior players around like myself, the captain [Mark Noble] and Dave [Martin] in goal can help by giving him advice and this is really, really good.”
While Baptiste is one for the future, the present is about finalising preparations for the big Premier League kick-off in less than three weeks’ time.
Ogbonna concluded: “I don’t want to talk about other teams and whatever our target is going to be in the future, but about our performances, and I think our performance levels have gone up since the new manager came in and we have to keep this performance on our side, so that has to be our mentality.
“I’m totally excited for the new season and what it brings!”