Angelo Ogbonna has called on his teammates to find the “next level” with West Ham United looking up the table rather than down.
The East London club sit tenth in the Premier League after recovering from their tough start to the season, but they failed to follow up their recent win over Arsenal, losing 2-0 to the out-of-form Bournemouth.
Italian defender Ogbonna lost his place to Issa Diop earlier in the season, but found his way back into the squad after Fabian Balbuena suffered a knee injury.
“You have to be prepared in football,” Ogbonna told whufc.com.
“Every time, something can happen, so you have to be prepared for that and we have a really big squad.
“To be fair, we had a lot of matches in the space of a few days, so that’s why you can’t just relax.
“Some people don’t understand that it is difficult when a player has to come back to play after a long time out of the team, but this is our job and we do not complain. At the moment, for me, it’s good and I’m proud because I’m doing what I love.”
The former Juventus centre-back believes the Hammers need to be more consistent in the latter stages of the season and says the team are not satisfied with their performances to date.
“We need to find the next level of performance and consistency now because we are not happy, to be fair, even though we won a lot of games since the start of December.
“As individual players and as a squad, I think our expectation are a bit higher and we need to step up.”