Ogbonna: We will get results if we keep performing this well
Angelo Ogbonna was full of praise for West Ham United’s impressive performance as the Irons earned a memorable 3-2 derby victory over Chelsea on Wednesday evening.
Thomas Soucek and Michail Antonio had netted for the Hammers either side of half-time but Willian’s double for Chelsea – from the penalty spot and a free-kick – meant the fixture was level heading into the closing moments, but Andriy Yarmolenko struck late on to finish a thrilling fixture in the home side’s favour.
Wednesday’s win secured a much-needed three points in the battle against the drop and Ogbonna has hailed the team’s mentality and tenacity in claiming a late result against the Blues.
“What a game!” The Italian exclaimed to West Ham TV. “I think we started really well. It’s not easy to get back and play after three months. We needed a little bit of luck and, against Chelsea, we had it.
“In this moment, we need to win the games and stay together and stay up. More than winning the games, we need to perform. When we perform like we did against Chelsea, we get results.
“Some parts, we played really well and some, not. But it’s not easy to play every three days. We had the chance to prepare for the game against Chelsea for a week and I think it was really good. It was a good three points.”
It would have been easy for the Hammers to become despondent following a controversial VAR decision ruled out a close finish by Soucek in the first half, with salt rubbed into the wound just moments later when Willian converted the game’s opener from the penalty spot.
The determination to carve out a positive result was evident in every single West Ham player however, with Soucek eventually claiming his first Irons goal before the half-time whistle, while each outfield Hammer was involved in the build-up to the second, netted by Antonio.
The drive to claim the late winner was clear, and it came on 89 minutes, as Fornals and Antonio combined on the counter-attack to find Yarmolenko, with the Ukrainian rocketing home.
For Ogbonna, every single player pulled their weight in Wednesday’s game, with West Ham getting their just rewards for their efforts.
He continued: “I think the team played really well. We prepared really well for this game and we really wanted to win this game. I want to talk about everyone – even the boys than came on from the bench. Yarmo scored and Jack Wilshere did really well.
“Manuel Lanzini hasn’t played for a long time and it wasn’t easy for him, but he did well. Pablo Fornals too! It’s difficult to pick any player from this game and say something wrong about the performance.”
For the Italian, Wednesday’s match marked his first outing in Claret and Blue since the restart, and Ogbonna admitted to finding life without football and training difficult during the COVID-19 lockdown, which prevented professional players from working with their teammates and coaching staff.
The centre-back is hopeful his minor injury issues are now behind him as the Irons focus on the remaining six matches of the Premier League season.
“I couldn’t wait to get back! I’ve been unlucky I think, since we restarted. It’s not easy for players like myself or Issa Diop to be out for three months without getting treatment or things like this. We are tall and running on the streets, which is hard, and you get injuries, which is unlucky.”
A quick turnaround means a trip to the north east to play Newcastle is next for David Moyes’ Hammers, meaning a potential battle for Ogbonna against an old teammate in Andy Carroll.
The powerful striker returned to his hometown club last summer after departing West Ham but Ogbonna knows Carroll isn’t the only dangerous outlet in the Magpies’ squad, as the Hammers seek another vital victory.
“It’s not just Andy Carroll,” he added with a smirk. “It will be tough. We’re playing away at Newcastle and it will be totally tough.
“I think it will be tougher than Wednesday’s game. We need to focus and recover as quick as we can. We need to perform.”