Arnautovic & Noble: Irons kept believing despite two-goal deficit
Marko Arnautovic has credited West Ham United for keeping faith in their own ability after coming from two goals down to secure a 2-2 draw at home to Brighton and Hove Albion.
Dale Stephens and Shane Duffy seemed to have sentenced the Hammers to defeat in the first game of 2019 after striking within two minutes in the second period, but Arnautovic would strike twice himself to earn the Irons a point.
The 29-year-old was disappointed he and his teammates could not take the win in Wednesday's match but was satisfied with how the side fought back from going behind.
We lost two goals from set-pieces but we kept believing. After those two goals, it was a good performance.
"I'm very pleased that we've come back from two goals down," Arnautovic said. "I think we didn't play the football we wanted to play and we know that Brighton are a threat from set-pieces. We lost two goals from set-pieces but we kept believing. After those two goals, it was a good performance.
"I don't know what we started so late but we started to play good football, started to attack and press them high, and scored two goals. I think we had some chances to win the game but we couldn't take them."
Captain Mark Noble instigated West Ham's comeback after coming on as a second-half substitute, playing a sublime ball into Arnautovic for the No7 to turn home his first of the match.
The skipper then began the home side's equaliser, finding Michail Antonio out wide, who in turn set up the Austrian for his second.
The midfielder, speaking alongside Arnautovic, explained how he felt the team wasn't playing to the forward's strengths in the first period; something he set out to do from the minute he stepped out onto the pitch.
"It's a different game from the side," Noble said. "You sit and watch, and I looked on and thought we just weren't playing enough balls into Marko. We weren't playing to his strengths, just like playing balls in over the top.
"Brighton are a fantastically set up team. They are a bit of a bogey team for us, but the way to hurt them was over the top with Marko's pace and strength. As soon as I come on I thought that, as soon as I got the chance, I was going to put the ball over the top to him for him to run onto.
"Lucky enough he got his goal, and then the same with Michail. I played the ball to him out wide; he got to the byline and cut one back. It's disappointing because we wanted to play much better than that at home, but it's two set plays and silly goals that cost us."
The 31-year-old admitted the busy run of fixtures over the festive period may have played a role in a difficult opening hour for the Irons against Brighton, but says the team can take positives from their fight back to get a point.
He added: "Over the Christmas period we've had two away games, been in hotels a lot and been at Burnley and Southampton. I don't know if that plays a part, but we've changed the team with three or four players.
"From where we was, 2-0 down, to get two goals, it's a positive."