Noble praises Hammers' fighting spirit

Mark Noble

Mark Noble admitted Saturday’s defeat to London rivals Tottenham Hotspur was tough to take following a battling performance that deserved greater reward.

After making the brighter start and creating several promising openings, a groin injury to Michail Antonio forced a reshuffle after just half an hour and, as Hammers adjusted to a slightly different approach, the visitors took full advantage to race into a two-goal lead courtesy of Harry Kane’s double strike.

When Christen Eriksen made it 3-0 early in the second half, it looked like last season’s Premier League runners-up might cause an embarrassment but – led by the never-say-die attitude of their captain – Hammers fought to turn the tide and almost pulled off a memorable comeback.

“I thought we started really well and were on top for the first 35 minutes,” said Noble. “The way we pressed, the way we played, created a couple of chances and really looked good.

“Mikey going off took our momentum away a bit and slowed the game, and then we let in a couple of really sloppy goals, which of course was disappointing.

“There was a little bit of shock going in 2-0 down at half-time, though – I didn’t think we deserved that. We could easily have folded and given up at 3-0, but instead we dug in and managed to make a game of it.”

if we play the way we did on Saturday, we’ll have a chance of winning the next three or four games

Mark Noble

Headed goals from Javier Hernandez and Cheikhou Kouyate gave the London Stadium faithful a genuine lifeline and, when Andy Carroll rose highest to meet a cross from the left in the dying moments, it looked like Slaven Bilic’s side might get the point they deserved.

However, a sly nudge from Spurs defender Davinson Sanchez clearly impeded the big striker’s momentum – unfairly in Noble’s eyes.

“I’m pretty sure Andy would have smashed that into the net – that’s the way we saw it,” he said.

“We had a similar situation go against us in the 93rd minute away at Southampton, having got ourselves back to 2-2 with 10 men. Sometimes these things pay you back but that wasn’t the case today.”

With the next four Premier League fixtures against Swansea, Burnley, Brighton and Crystal Palace, Noble insisted confidence and belief is still high among the squad given the fighting qualities displayed against Spurs.

“Every game in the Premier League is crucial,” he said. “But if we play the way we did today, we’ll have a chance of winning the next three or four games.”