West Ham defender: My centre back partnership with Issa Diop is getting stronger and stronger
PUBLISHED: 16:30 25 February 2019
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Angelo Ogbonna hails team after coming from behind to beat Fulham
When Fabian Balbuena was injured just before Christmas in conceding a penalty against Watford, there were some worried frowns among supporters.
Not only had ‘The General’ been one of the finds of the season for the Hammers, but replacement Angelo Ogbonna was not exactly the man in form.
It has certainly been an up and down period for Ogbonna. In a dozen games, playing alongside Issa Diop, West Ham have won four, drawn three and lost four.
There was the excellent 1-0 win over Arsenal at the London Stadium and the 1-1 draw with Liverpool, but there was also the humiliating 4-2 FA Cup defeat by AFC Wimbledon along the way.
But the big centre back feels that his partnership with the Frenchman is getting better all the time.
“It is very good between the two of us,” said the Italy international.
“We have adapted so quickly to everything and I think we work well together.
“We can fight, we can pass the ball and help the team to play.”
They can also help in the other box as well. Against Fulham, Ogbonna touched the ball on for Javier Hernandez to score, while Issa Diop’s towering header put the Hammers in front.
“It was good to see him score because he got that high,” smiled the 30-year-old defender.
“He is a very good defender and has a lot of potential and finally he has scored his first Premier League goal.
“When the defenders get into the box, we must do the most to help the team.
“In this game it was Issa, last time it was me and before Balbuena, so I think we have had many chances to score and help the teamj.”
Friday’s victory moved them up to ninth place in the Premier League, but Ogbonna is reluctant to make any predictions about where they might finish.
“I think we have to go game by game and we will see at the end of the season,” he said guardedly, before that big, wide smile returned to his face.
“Every time we say something we want to achieve it all goes horribly wrong. It seems like bad luck.”
With Balbuena slowly returning to fitness, it seems Ogbonna’s days in the team could be numbered, but his ability as a squad man is undisputed and he can still play an important part for the Hammers.
Ogbonna should be there against mighty Manchester City tonight (Wednesday) at the Etihad, where he scored last season.
“We have to be focused on our game. We know they are a top team with a lot of quality. I scored against them before, but I think it is better if the strikers score,” he ;aughed. We shall see.