Ogbene pleased to see Luton showing some 'arrogance' in their fight for Premier League survival

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Summer signing details just how the Hatters have improved in the top flight

​​Town attacker Chiedozie Ogbene is happy to see Luton starting to play with a touch more ‘arrogance’ in the Premier League after finding their feet at their new level following a difficult introduction to the season.

Having won promotion to the top flight back in May with a day Luton fans will never forget at Wembley when beating Coventry City in the play-off final, Town took their time to adapt in the highest tier of English football, before starting to pick up results, winning three out of six fixtures recently. Although that run of good form was ended in disappointing fashion by Sheffield United on Saturday, Ogbene believes with Ross Barkley and Sambi Lokonga now proving key additions in the midfield, it has given Luton a different mentality with which to approach games.

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He said: “We continue to learn every day, the manager works so hard day and night trying to find ways which we can be better and I think what helps us is we’re a very athletic team. At the start of the season we knew that, but maybe we sat off teams a bit more. Now we’re using that athleticism against teams, trying to be more progressive, trying to be almost man-to-man to see if they can outrun us and teams have struggled to do that. That’s one thing we’ve tried to change from the start of the season and we’re just trying to use Ross coming in, he’s firing, that quality in the middle of the pitch, he can control games, Ross and Sambi.

Hatters attacker Chiedozie Ogbene in action against Sheffield United on Saturday - pic: Liam SmithHatters attacker Chiedozie Ogbene in action against Sheffield United on Saturday - pic: Liam Smith
Hatters attacker Chiedozie Ogbene in action against Sheffield United on Saturday - pic: Liam Smith

“So football’s funny like that, you need strikers having confidence, need players playing well and things have to click. We knew things would click for us, we didn't know when, but the manager kept emphasising that we just had to stick together and keep going and we’re reaping the rewards now. From the start of the season to now I think we are playing with a lot more arrogance, we’re starting to believe that we’re capable in this league.”

On just what that entails for the Hatters, Ogbene continued: "At the start we were kind of naive and trying to learn, see what is what, but now we’re playing with our chest out, we’re confident, we’re going toe-to-toe with some big teams. The way we’re playing now, we’re putting five on the last line and pinning teams back. Teams know we have pace in the forward line, so they’re starting to drop off and let our midfielders get on the ball, and our centre backs have more time on the ball, so that’s something we didn't do at the start of the season. We were playing with a front three, trying to do too much and now we're going ultra aggressive and attack is the best form of defence. We’re trying to pin teams back and cause problems on the other side of the pitch, hopefully keep them away from our defensive side.”

The summer signing from Rotherham has found himself shifted around the pitch for the Hatters recently, playing on the left of a front three at times, and also the right, then starting the last four games in the right wingback slot vacated by Issa Kabore’s selection for the Africa Cup of Nations with Burkina Faso. All three are positions that Ogbene remains eager to learn and improve at though, adding: “I enjoy it on the left, when I run at defenders I can go both ways, inside or outside, or just clip it in to the back post.

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"It lets me become more efficient in terms of taking people on as knowing you can go either side puts more fear on the defenders, but it’s a position that I like and I train on and work on, as well as the right as we’ve seen. The gaffer puts me on the right, so that is a natural position for me as I can put balls in the box early. It’s good to be versatile in that way, so I get the trust of the manager, get to stay on the pitch a bit longer as well.”