Angelo Ogbonna has been one of the standout performers for West Ham since returning from knee surgery. In an interview with the club’s official website, he credits the squad’s improved discipline for the improved form which has come since David Moyes took over from Slaven Bilic.
Ogbonna is a leading candidate for Hammer of the Year having been the club’s most consistent defender. He leads West Ham United in clearances made, joint-first in shots blocked and third in passes completed. Ogbonna may have started the season sluggishly but his recent performances have been instrumental to the Hammers’ success.
His most important moment, the game saving tackle to deny Oliver Burke in the 2-1 win against West Brom. He single-handedly kept the game at 1-1 which set the stage for Andy Carroll to win the game in the 94th minute:
In Bilic’s latter reign many people identified lax discipline as a key area of focus, suggesting that the players had been given too much leeway. Michail Antonio recently fell foul of the new regime, finding himself dropped from the depleted squad facing Crystal Palace, after arriving late for training.
“When the team was doing really bad, we changed the manager and he has brought a lot of energy and a lot of positive things, but the most important thing he brought was discipline because with discipline, you can build whatever you want.
“Every manager has his type of method, but the important thing was the discipline, because with this you can train harder or train less, but you know what you have to do.”
The Scotsman has led the Irons to 12th in the Premier League with 11 matches to go, but this position is all-but guaranteed as only the team is only four points away from the relegation zone.
Ogbonna favourably compared the change in managerial tactics to the methods he enjoyed working under at Juventus:
“He is not just like an Italian manager, but like a European manager. Today, everything in football is improving and we are doing lots of things – tactics, positional work, technical work, running – and in the Premier League this is essential, because it is the hardest league in the world and, if you are not fit, you cannot go ahead.
“We improved a lot in the last month or two. We changed the shape [to three-at-the-back], but it’s not just that. We run much better than before, not only in distance but in the quality of our running.
“Every game has its story and every game is different, so we prepare for every game differently, to give ourselves the best chance of winning or drawing. Even when we struggled with injuries, we found the right shape with the right players in the right positions.”
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