May 19 2013 Latest news:
Dave Evans, West Ham Correspondent
Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Hammers defender Joey O’Brien returned from injury against Manchester City on Saturday and helped them to win a point
Before this season, injury-plagued West Ham defender Joey O’Brien’s last Premier League start had been for Bolton in a 3-1 loss to Arsenal way back in September 2008.
This term he has already made six appearances in the top flight and he was back from injury on Saturday to replace James Tomkins in the right back berth for the 0-0 draw with Manchester City at Upton Park.
“Physically I felt well,” said the 26-year-old who was one of the most reliable players in last season’s promotion from the Championship.
“I’ve been out for a couple of weeks, but the injury wasn’t that bad, so I had a lot of time to work with the fitness coaches and physios at the club.
“I’ve been working hard in training to get my fitness levels up and my stats up and I felt good in the game.”
The Ireland international needed to be. He found himself up against former Hammers hero Carlos Tevez and despite one or two hairy moments, he certainly held his own, before moving into the centre of defence when James Collins limped off with six minutes left.
“We were hanging on towards the end, but in the first half we had much better chances than them and even at the start of the second half we had a couple of decent chances.
“The tactics from the manager were to sit in. We knew they would have plenty of the ball, but we played to sit in and wait for our chances to go and press and intercept passes and to break on the counter-attack.
“That worked, especially in the second half. We were getting out and Matt Jarvis was pushing on. He was a great out ball for us in the second half – the game plan worked well.”
O’Brien was certainly happy with the way they played on Saturday, especially after the dismal performance in his absence against Wigan Athletic the previous weekend.
“We’ve played well this season, though we were very disappointed with how we played at Wigan.
“The boss wasn’t happy, but neither were the lads. We just didn’t perform how we have been going into that game. We didn’t turn up at Wigan, but we put that right this week.”
They did, and with a fit O’Brien in the squad, they have a backbone to the defence that suggests there will be more to come.