Noble - The lads are digging in

Mark Noble


  • Mark Noble says Hammers are ready to return to Premier League action after Dubai trip
  • West Ham United travel to Watford on Saturday seeking a third straight away victory
  • Captain delighted by welcome the squad received during their time in the Arabian Gulf

Mark Noble says the Hammers are refreshed and raring to go ahead of Saturday’s Premier League trip to Watford.

The West Ham United squad spent five days in Dubai over last weekend, where they combined daily training sessions with the opportunity to relax, recharge and bond in a different environment.

While the sun failed to shine in the unseasonably cold Arabian Gulf, the captain said the time away would benefit the squad in their final 13 fixtures.

“The weather wasn’t great in Dubai, but we had four really good training sessions and a bit of downtime where we could relax and just chill out, and I think it’s great,” he told

“We had a couple of meals together, the whole squad, and it’s great to get everyone together in one room and enjoy everyone’s company.”

The visit also gave the Dubai Hammers supporters’ club and other fans based in the United Arab Emirates a rare opportunity to rub shoulders with their heroes.

Noble was impressed with the turnout at the Club’s open training session.

It’s great to get everyone together in one room and enjoy everyone’s company

Mark Noble

“I couldn’t believe how many fans there were!” he revealed. “About 300 people came and to be fair that was during the best couple of hours sun we had!

“They got to see a really good training session and enjoyed meeting the boys after. It was just a really good four or five days in all, but obviously we now have a really big game on Saturday to think about.”

Valon Behrami
Speaking of Saturday’s meeting with Watford at Vicarage Road, Noble says the Hammers are determined to eradicate the memory of their London Stadium meltdown against the Hornets back in September – upsetting two of his former West Ham teammates in the process.

“Like we have done a lot of times this season, we were punished for our mistakes against Watford,” the No16 recalled from the 4-2 defeat. “I’ve watched Watford a lot and they’re a good team, have good players and they’re good at home so we have to be really on it to get a result there.

“Valon Behrami (pictured) I’ve known for years now and I’ve played against him many times. He’s a top geezer. I enjoyed his company at the Club.

“Then obviously Mauro [Zarate] scored some really important goals for us and you can’t forget them. He’s got a lot of talent and we’re going to have to be aware of him.”

Slaven Bilic’s squad have lost just three of their last 12 Premier League matches and Noble says they can extend that record in Hertfordshire.

“After what happened over Christmas [with the Dimitri Payet situation], the past six weeks have been great,” he observed.

“The lads are digging in for each other and we’ve signed some really good players, players who want to play for the team and work for the team. It’s been really good the last six weeks.

“When you look at the league now, it’s probably what everyone expects it to be. With the top six, the money they have at their disposal is massive and last year was probably a freak year, like everyone knows. The rest of the league is up for fight.

“We were struggling early on but we managed to put a few results together and get back mid-table and now we’re looking upwards. This year’s leveled out again and this year’s back to what it should be.”