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No smiles from West Ham defender but plenty of positives despite Liverpool thumping

PUBLISHED: 12:30 14 August 2018

West Ham United's Angelo Ogbonna

West Ham United's Angelo Ogbonna

PA Wire/PA Images

Defender Ogbonna thinks the outlook is good for the Hammers

West Ham United's Angelo Ogbonna during the Premier League match at Anfield, Liverpool ...West Ham United's Angelo Ogbonna during the Premier League match at Anfield, Liverpool ...

West Ham defender Angelo Ogbonna is one of the happiest men in football. He always has time for a laugh and a smile, but even he could not see the funny side of Sunday’s trip to Liverpool.

The Italy international centre back had a decent game, even setting up Marko Arnautovic for West Ham’s best chance of the match with a long ball forward.

But there was nothing to joke about here, though he could still see plenty of positives.

“It was really tough out there, but welcome to the Premier League!” he said. “I think they want to win the league, they have very good players, but we have no real excuses.

Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (right) in action during the Premier League match at Anfield, Liverpool.Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (right) in action during the Premier League match at Anfield, Liverpool.

“Compared to last season, I am really, really positive because we got two chances, one for Marko and one chance for (Michail Antonio and we were a little unlucky.”

Ogbonna was one of the mainstays of last season’s tough campaign. And the former Juventus defender believes this time round it is going to be very different.

“We have a really good dressing room and we have really good players, I have seen it here,” insisted Ogbonna.

“We have a lot of quality and there were good things, so we don’t have to be negative.”

Liverpool's Sadio Mane celebrates scoring his side's second goal of the game during the Premier League match at Anfield, Liverpool.Liverpool's Sadio Mane celebrates scoring his side's second goal of the game during the Premier League match at Anfield, Liverpool.

Ogbonna’s partnership with Fabian Balbuena was one of the few plus points during the afternoon, despite conceding four goals.

When you are up against the likes of Sadio Mane and Mo Salah it is going to be a tough afternoon for any team.

So were there any special tactics to cope with the Liverpool forward line?

Ogbonna shakes his head: “No, we didn’t have tactics to stop Mane and Salah in particular,” he confirmed. “It was more to stop their whole team.”

That was always going to be a tough ask and though West Ham fought all the way, Liverpool could not be stopped from scoring goals on the day.

“We kept our shape and I think it was good,” said the big Italian. “They are a big team who want to compete up there this season, but for me there are not a lot of team negatives to talk about.

“It was the first game and we showed that we had quality, much better than last season for sure.

“We have to be altogether for the next game.”

You would think that heads would be down after such a drubbing, but for the 30-year-old, who was making his 99th appearance in claret and blue, he is remaining as upbeat as he can.

“I am very positive because although we conceded goals, we didn’t make mistakes – it was their goals and they were very good,” he said.

“We had our chances and we didn’t take them and they had four chances and scored them.”

Perhaps that was a little over-simplistic, but it is fair to say that if Arnautovic or Antonio had taken one of those chances it would have put a very different complexion on the game.

It never happened and Liverpool won at a canter and now a response is needed.

“Now it is important that we bounce back for the Bournemouth game, but it won’t be easy. This is the Premier League.”

It certainly is and Angelo seems to be at home in it.

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