Noble calls for reinforcements

Mark Noble believes reinforcements are in order if West Ham United are to compete at home and abroad next season
Mark Noble believes reinforcements are in order if West Ham United are to compete at home and abroad next season. 

With just Sunday’s trip to Newcastle United still to negotiate, the Hammers remain the most likely recipients of a Europa League place via the Fair Play Table. 

The prospect is an exciting one for Noble, but he contends that West Ham will have to bolster their squad considerably to cope with the competition’s demands. 

“Europe's a great thing, everyone wants to play in Europe,” Noble confirmed. “We're going to have to improve the squad if we are in the Europa League and hopefully we can compete.  

“Next season's probably the biggest season in the Club's history, because we have to be in the Premier League for the new Stadium.” 

Ironically, Noble feels that Saturday’s victors, Everton, suffered from their European commitments this term and the 28-year-old is desperate to see the Hammers avoid a similar fate. 

He continued: “Once the Europa League's confirmed, we'll know where we have to be, who we're playing and how many players we're going to have to get in. You need to have fresh legs for that competition and at the moment in time our squad's not big enough. 

“These boys [Everton] have been through European football this year already and know how tough it is. They only started picking up points when they got knocked out.

“We’ll need to strengthen the squad, keep the players that we've got here and look forward to a good pre-season.” 

As it is, the Hammers’ squad has been stretched to the limit in recent weeks and West Ham’s longest servant can empathise with supporters’ frustrations at what he describes as an anti-climactic end to the campaign.   

“It's been a really good season, but now the way that it's ended, it doesn't feel that way,” he explained. 

“Last year, we were struggling for points near the bottom, second from bottom at Christmas time, and we got enough points to stay up and it seemed like a good season, when it wasn't really. 

“This season, we've been safe the whole year, we've picked up a lot of points and now that it's finishing, it's a bit of an anti-climax. We were safe months and months ago and we've not picked up as many points as we probably should have.” 

Even on Saturday, Noble was left wondering how the Hammers hade come away with nothing from what, for the most part, had been a positive display.   

“The strange thing is I thought we played quite well on Saturday in a lot of spells and, at times, it was like a bit of a pre-season match in the sun. 

“[Romelu] Lukaku always seems to score against us. In the last minute as well, which hurts, and put a bit of a downer on the day. 

“Even in the first half, I thought we created a couple of chances, we passed the ball well and got in good positions. But if you don't concentrate for the full 90 minutes, 94 minutes, whatever it was, you get punished and that's what happened.” 

All the while, speculation continues to swirl around manager Sam Allardyce's future, but Noble’s focus is fixed firmly on Newcastle and belatedly hitting the 50-point mark.         

“We only hear what the public hear. Obviously it is a massive thing because the manager's out of contract at the end of the year, so we don't know what's going on with that. 

“I think we've got on with the job, we're eleventh in the Premier League and we need to go out and beat Newcastle away next week."