Noble takes solace in second half

Mark Noble felt the Hammers had restored some pride with a much improved second-half display at Manchester City
Mark Noble felt West Ham United’s second-half showing at Manchester City at least restored some pride, as the Hammers succumbed to a 2-0 Barclays Premier League defeat at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.       

The Hammers fell behind after 18 minutes in freak fashion when James Collins sent a Jesus Navas centre spinning beyond Adrian and in off the underside of the bar. 

A clinical City counter then saw Sergio Aguero exchange passes with Navas before slotting through the legs of the Hammers’ stopper to double the hosts’ lead. 

But far from caving in, West Ham were much improved after the interval and after Enner Valencia had squirmed into the box and stabbed wide, Kevin Nolan was denied by an excellent Joe Hart stop in the latter stages.  

Though there was to be no grandstand finish, West Ham’s stubborn display after the break left Noble with reason for optimism.   

“I think we played a lot better in the second half and had a couple of chances,” he confirmed. “You know you’re not going to get a lot of chances here and the ones you do get, you have to take. Unfortunately, we couldn’t take them on Sunday. 

“Enner’s wiggled through and just missed the target, if you get a goal back then it puts a little bit of pressure on them. 

“But I think, to be honest, they took their foot off the gas. They were 2-0 up and just tried to play the game out. We were obviously trying to catch them on the break and nick a goal but it wasn’t meant to be and with five games left now, we need to get better and end the season on a high.”
You know you’re not going to get a lot of chances here and the ones you do get, you have to take. Unfortunately, we couldn’t take them on Sunday.
West Ham’s plight was hardly helped by Collins’ most unfortunate of interventions and Noble naturally had nothing but sympathy for his centre-half.   

“It’s unlucky from Ginge. He chucks his body on the line all the time, so now and then he’s going to get one of them. Unluckily enough it was in the back of the net on Sunday.

"As I said, we weren’t good enough in the first half, well, we couldn’t get the ball in the first half to be good enough. In the second half we played a little bit better and came off with a bit of pride.” 

Next up for Noble and co is a trip to relegation-threatened Queens Park Rangers on Saturday. It promises to be a very different challenge, but one that West Ham’s longest servant wants his colleagues to embrace.  

“We’ve got QPR next week and we’ve got to play a lot better. Against a team that’s fighting for their lives, we know it’s going to be a tough game. The crowd’s going to be up for it. We need to go there with some heart and try to get a result.”