Noble - We've had an unbelievable season

The captain says a disappointing final-day defeat cannot overshadow a memorable 2015/16 campaign for West Ham United
Reflecting on a disappointing result on the final day of what has been a momentous and unforgettable season; captain Mark Noble said he was struggling to understand how his side had not come away from the Britannia victorious.

The visiting Hammers started with aplomb and asserted their dominance through Michail Antonio who broke the deadlock with a fine shot on the turn following Manuel Lanzini’s corner.

The visitors continued to try and extend their advantage, and came close on multiple occasions however it was Stoke who made the most of their chances as Giannelli Imbula equalised before Mame Biram Diouf’s headed late winner.

In total, West Ham had 20 shots to Stoke’s seven. Speaking at full time, Noble said: “The amount of chances we had today was unbelievable, how we haven’t won that game I do not know, I think they probably had two maybe three shots all game, so it’s disappointing.

“I think we had four cleared off the line! I might be exaggerating but it seemed to like it didn’t go for us. We probably should have finished them off in the first half; we just didn’t have that quality. Then set pieces undid us.”

The defeat means the Hammers will now have to wait for the outcome of the FA Cup final between Manchester United and Crystal Palace, to determine whether West Ham will finish in a Europa League qualifying position.   

The skipper continued: “We’ll just have to wait now and see what happens in the cup final, that’s our season done so we’ll have to wait. Obviously we all hope whatever happened at Old Trafford isn’t too serious and everyone is OK. We’ll just have to wait and see.”

With next weekend’s events out of his hands, Noble expressed his pride in this season’s achievements, which included setting a new Premier League points total in the final ever season at the Boleyn Ground as well as recording several high-profile victories.

The captain, who has been in inspired form himself throughout, finished by saying: “We have to take this result into context and that is we’ve had a great season, we come on a long way. Games like today we should have won. We started fantastic in the first half and created chances in the second. Shay Given made some unbelievable saves today, we shouldn’t have lost today.

“I’ve always said this season was probably the most important in the club’s history, for sure. Moving stadiums we had to make sure we were a solid Premier League team and we did that midway through the season. We had a small chance at Champions League which was great, now we just have to wait and see what happens.”