Mark Noble has urged West Ham United supporters to try to forget about the Club's current form and enjoy Christmas.

The popular midfielder, who has captained the side twice during Kevin Nolan's recent suspension, spoke to West Ham TV following Saturday's 3-1 Barclays Premier League defeat at Manchester United.

While he did not shy away from the fact that the Hammers sit 17th in the table going into the festive season, the No16's message was one of optimism rather than concern.

The No16 says the squad are targeting a minimum of six points from their three holiday fixtures at home to Arsenal and West Bromwich Albion and away at Fulham.

"My message to the fans would be to stick with us," he said. "Obviously we had a great first half to the year finishing tenth and I'm pretty sure that when we get some key players back like Winston Reid, Stewie Downing and big AC (Andy Carroll) in the New Year, we'll be fine.

"We just need to keep working hard, not let defeats demoralise us, and look forward to the next game.

"Six points out of nine over Christmas would be fantastic and that is our aim. Anything less than that would be undercutting ourselves massively because we need to beat West Brom and we need to beat Fulham.

"We've got a home game against Arsenal and, if we prepare for the game in the right way, there is every chance we can get something there too with the crowd behind us at Upton Park.

"We just need to look after ourselves over Christmas and enjoy it by winning games."

Reflecting on Saturday's defeat at Manchester United, Noble felt the Hammers had an opportunity to gain a positive result at Old Trafford after starting the game well.

However, two first-half goals from Danny Welbeck and Adnan Januzaj and a second-half strike from Ashley Young meant Carlton Cole's consolation came too late to affect the final outcome.

"Adrian made a great save early doors and we kept it tight up until their first goal, then they got a second one and it was tough to come back," said the No16. "I thought the lads dug in well in the second half and didn't let themselves down.

"Old Trafford is a tough place to go. I know they lost their last two games there, but they were going to win at some point. It just always seems to be against us! We are looking forward to the Boxing Day game against Arsenal now.

"Obviously at Spurs they had a few good chances early on but we got the little bit of luck that we needed. They didn't score in the first half and we made them pay for that, but going to Old Trafford was a different kettle of fish.

"When Adrian made the save I thought it was going to be our night, but it wasn't. Anything you get at places like Old Trafford is a bonus, so we just need to rub our faces and get ready for the next game."

While he was naturally disappointed to lose out at Old Trafford, Noble was pleased to see Cole grab his second goal since returning to the Club in October.

"Coley took his goal well one-on-one. He told me he meant to stick it through the keeper's legs and of course I believe him! It was nice to get a goal, but the result wasn't so good. We thought we could get something but it wasn't to be.

"We kept on going and had some chances and had one cleared off the line, then obviously Coley scored. If we had got a goal while it was only 2-0 then we might have got back in it, but at 3-0 down we still had a long way to go when we got our goal.

"The lads gave their all and also gave a lot in the week against Spurs, so we'll re-group and make sure we're ready for the next one."

Moments after Cole had made it 3-1, West Ham made loud appeals for a penalty when Ravel Morrison's shot hit Tom Cleverley on the hand, only for the claims to be waved away by referee Mike Jones. Had the spot-kick been awarded and converted by Noble, the stage would have been set for a grandstand finish.

"It definitely hit him on the arm, but I don't know if he was inside the box or out. To get those decisions at Old Trafford is a big ask and we never got it."