Do West Ham’s tired excuses wash after abject surrender against Arsenal?
PUBLISHED: 08:30 07 December 2016 | UPDATED: 08:30 07 December 2016
Hammers defender Angelo Ogbonna puts the case for the defence
Standing in the mixed zone waiting for a West Ham player to talk to after a 5-1 defeat by Arsenal certainly tests your patience. But after a lengthy wait it was defender Angelo Ogbonna who stepped up to the plate to explain that disaster.
“I think it was so bad,” he said apologetically. “Maybe we were a little bit tired because we played Wednesday night and their first-team didn’t.
“I think maybe we weren’t concentrating enough – in football it can happen. After Wednesday we didn’t have time to prepare for this match really well and in training we didn’t train like Arsenal would have done.”
Maybe, but that is still no excuse for the abject surrender we saw at the London Stadium on Saturday, nor were the injuries, though the 28-year-old Italy international still pointed it out.
“We lost Cheikhou Kouyate on Friday, but we have lost a lot of other players,” he said. “I think we were so tired in the last 30 minutes, but in the first half and at times in the second we threw away a lot of the ball.”
Ogbonna was one of the culprits as his mistake led to the opening goal and he held his hands up for that, adding: “Even my mistake, when I tried to play the ball out, they were so brilliant and took advantage of our mistakes, they won all the second balls.
“We are so disappointed, because it is not out usual performance. We may have lost to Man United on Wednesday, we played well at times, this game we lost so badly.”
They did and it was the manner of their capitulation which was so stark. They could have been three down before Arsenal finally scored, while in the last 10 minutes they simply threw in the towel.
“The mood is still positive, but we are so sad for the result,” said the defender. “There are a lot of excuses, I can go on until the end of the day, but it was just a bad day.
“Last season we didn’t concede a lot of goals and sometimes we won against big teams, including Arsenal.
“I believe the team will turn it around. This season we have a lot of changes, a new stadium, a new training ground and some new players. The expectations were so big and maybe we relaxed a bit too much, but this is December now and we need to get back to those levels.”
Liverpool away looms large for West Ham this Sunday, but the most important games will be the home clashes with Burnley and Hull City later this month.
“Those two are crucial games because the table is so tight,” said Ogbonna. “We have to definitely win those, not just because of who we are playing, but we have to just start winning games.
“It doesn’t get any easier with Liverpool coming up, but we are positive. It is just one game and we are optimistic.
“We have got a lot of fans and a lot of character. We have to work hard to get back.”
They certainly do and quickly if they are to turn this round.
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