‘Jabo is a big player for us’ – Magnus Okuonghae

Magnus Okuonghae

Magnus Okuonghae - Credit: Richard Blaxall

Strikers hog the headlines, and defenders stay in the background.

That is usually the case in football, and it applied to Colchester United’s crunch 1-0 win over struggling Shrewsbury on Tuesday night, when match-winner Jabo Ibehre was in the spotlight.

Ibehre slammed home his eighth goal of the season, with a fantastic finish on 57 minutes, to propel the U’s five points clear of the drop zone.

And yet, as has often been under-played this season, the U’s defence performed a massive part in this latest success by shutting out the opposition.

Central defender Magnus Okuonghae pushed front-man Ibehre all the way for the man-of-the-match award against Shrewsbury.

For Okuonghae, though, a clean-sheet and a valuable three points was all the reward he required.

“Jabo (Ibehre) is a big player for us,” explained Okuonghae.

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“He has done extremely well. He got man-of-the-match (against Shrewsbury) and the goal was down to his individual brilliance really.

“We have all worked hard to get the win but, as it goes, strikers get the glory!

“But good for him, and good for all the strikers. We defenders defend, and try to keep them out,” added Okuonghae.

The U’s have only conceded 46 goals from 36 league games this season, which represents a massive improvement on last term, when Joe Dunne’s men shipped 55. goals in the equivalent number of games.

That solid back four, with Okounghae and Tom Eastman the mainstays at the heart of defence, has provided the platform for the U’s to steer clear of the bottom four.

“I’m no statistician, but I know we have conceded fewer goals than we did last year,” continued Okuonghae.

“We feel a lot of stronger. We have only been losing games by the odd goal and we have been staying in games.”

For the full interview with Okuonghae, sees today’s East Anglian Daily Times.

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