West Ham’s O’Brien: ‘Nobody gave us a chance at Chelsea’
15:30 30 January 2014
West Ham defender is out injured again, but only after playing huge defensive role at Stamford Bridge
West Ham defender Joey O’Brien trudged towards the team bus with his arm in a sling, but there was still the hint of a grin when he looked back on the team’s heroic 0-0 draw at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night, writes Dave Evans.
The 27-year-old full back will be out for weeks after dislocating his shoulder, but he was philosophical about the incident.
“I think it will need an x-ray in a couple of days,” he explained. “I don’t really know much about shoulders.
“It was just one of those things you get in a battle. Gary Cahill pushed me and I slipped and fell on my arm and I felt it pop out. The physio has popped it back in again for me.”
O’Brien certainly played his part in the Hammers battling display.
“I don’t think many people gave us a chance,” he said, probably nobody did. “First half I thought we started really well and had a couple of chances, but we knew coming here they were going to have a lot of the ball and a lot of chances.
“But the boys coming in played really solidly and Adrian made some great saves, though he only needed two or three top-class saves, which shows how well we played in restricting them to shots outside the box.”
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho was calling for O’Brien to be sent off after his late tackle on Willian, but understandably the player did not agree with his verdict.
“To be fair, I have done worse than that tackle in different games this season,” he said. “I don’t think I really got him and the ref agreed and that is why it was a yellow. If I had got more of him then it would probably have been a red, yes.” That was just one rash challenge in a series of superb blocks and tackles, but O’Brien was taking all that in his stride.
“As a defender that is what we get paid to do,” he said. “You have to go out and put your body on the line. The aim was to get a clean sheet and everyone played their part including the wingers and the midfielders.”
Mourinho also castigated West Ham as playing football from the 19th century, but O’Brien perhaps had the shrewdest thing to say about the outburst.
“I think if Chelsea had got all three points he would have said ‘what a good team we are’ and ‘they are going to get out of the relegation zone’.” he said.
O’Brien won’t be playing his part for a while now, but he thinks that the return of so many others will be the key for the rest of the season.
“We have had a few injuries this year as well as people playing out of position and you can get away with that for a game or two, but to have to do it on a constant basis, you are going to find it tough,” he said.
“But all the players are back now and there are new players coming in so there is no room for excuses anymore, it is time to play.”