Mark Noble says West Ham United need to work harder, cut out the mistakes and show the heart required to turn around their recent run of indifferent form.
The Hammers were beaten 3-2 by Tottenham Hotspur at London Stadium on Saturday, extending their record to just two points from a possible 21 from their last seven Premier League matches.
The Irons have conceded 16 goals in those seven games – many of them as a result of defensive mistakes – and Noble insisted they simply have to eradicate those errors if they are to avoid a season-long battle against relegation.
We’ve gone from starting the season really well to coming off it massively and it’s partly my job, and the manager’s, and the players in the dressing room, to turn it around, so the only way is to grind it out, work hard…
“Listen, if you concede three goals, like we have done in the last few games, it’s nearly impossible to win a game in this league, full stop,” he said, with stark and typical honesty.
“With the goals we are conceding, when you make silly mistakes you get punished in this league. You keep on saying it, but it keeps on happening.
“I know it’s a cliché, but you’ve got to dig in and grind a result out because most of the time it isn’t pretty football, it’s a bit of heart and determination and trying to get a result but, at the minute, it’s not happening.”
A lifelong Hammer, Noble feels the pain of his fellow supporters, some of whom expressed their frustration vocally at London Stadium.
“You pay a lot of money to come and watch us in a London derby against Spurs and we go 3-0 down, it’s not good,” he observed.
“We had a good result against them last year at their place, but you can’t concede goals, not like the ones we’ve been conceding in this league, because you get punished.
“If you don’t score yourself, and we aren’t scoring, and you keep conceding them, the only way you’re going in the table is down.
“We’ve gone from starting the season really well to coming off it massively and it’s partly my job, and the manager’s, and the players in the dressing room, to turn it around, so the only way is to grind it out, work hard…
“I know everyone says it, but in the 15 years I’ve been playing football hasn’t changed. You run around, work hard, put your tackles in and win your headers and let the quality take care of itself and at the minute we’re not doing it.”
Noble has enjoyed and endured the full range of emotions during his long career in Claret and Blue, including winning and losing relegation battles.
So, does he believe the Hammers have what it takes to turn things around and steer themselves away from the bottom three before it is too late?
“I have faith, of course I do as I’m the captain of this football club and I have faith in the players and the manager, but we have to turn it around quickly, full stop,” he stated.
“If we don’t, we’re going to be in a relegation battle and this club with this squad, we want to get away from that sort of season.
“If we don’t buck our ideas up and get back on the training pitch and do the things you need to do to survive in the Premier League, you’ve got no chance.”