West Ham United: Declan Rice backed to respond after error at Arsenal by Hammers colleague Angelo Ogbonna
PUBLISHED: 12:00 25 April 2018
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Teenager made mistake in build-up to second Gunners goal
Angelo Ogbonna has backed fellow West Ham United centre back Declan Rice to respond accordingly after making a costly error in the defeat at Arsenal.
Hammers attacker Marko Arnuatovic had cancelled out Nacho Monreal’s opener for the Gunners to leave the London rivals level at 1-1 heading into the final 10 minutes.
When Aaron Ramsey delivered a cross into the visitors’ box in the 82nd minute, Rice looked well positioned to head the ball away.
Rather than clear his lines, the Republic of Ireland international instead ducked out of the way of the cross.
With West Ham keeper Joe Hart wrong-footed, the cross sailed all the way in to hand the lead back to Arsenal, who would score twice more before the end of the game.
Had Rice cleared the danger, West Ham may well have taken a point at the Emirates, but Ogbonna is confident the teenager will bounce back from his mistake.
“Dec has played for a long time this season and every time he’s played well,” the Italy international told the club website.
“He’s a confident boy, and it’s just a misunderstanding and I’m sorry for him, but we are positive and focused on the next game.”
West Ham’s next game sees them welcome champions Manchester City to the London Stadium on Sunday.
With Pep Guardiola’s men on course for a Premier League points record, Sunday’s game looks set to be a difficult one for the Hammers.
But even after the defeat at Arsenal, Ogbonna is confident the east Londoners can trouble the Citizens.
“We have improved a lot. We took five points from the three games before the Arsenal game and we were confident with the ball and we maintained the tempo,” he added.
“We are always confident and we are focused on our goal. Our goal is to be safe, so we are still lucky that we are six points above the relegation zone, but we cannot relax. We have to be focused.”
Another lapse in focus at the back against City could be costly for the Hammers.